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The 2020 Census counts the population in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Each home will receive an invitation to respond to a short questionnaire—online, by phone, or by mail. In mid-March, households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census. By April 1, 2020, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census.
Participating in the census is required by law, even if you recently completed another survey from the Census Bureau. A complete and accurate count is critical for you and your community, because the results of the 2020 Census will affect community funding, congressional representation, and more.
Learn more at 2020census.gov.
Once every decade, the federal government conducts a census of the entire population to count everyone in the United State and record basic information about them. Our nation’s founders believed these data were so important that they mandated the decennial census in the Constitution.
In 2020, for the first time ever, the U.S. Census Bureau will accept responses online and phone, but you can still respond by mail if you prefer.
Strict federal law protects census responses. It is against the law for any Census Bureau employee to disclose or publish any census information that identifies an individual or business. Census Bureau employees take a lifelong pledge of confidentiality to handle data responsibly and keep respondents’ information private. The penalty for wrongful disclosure is a fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment for up to 5 years, or both. No law enforcement agency (not the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Federal Bureau of Investigation, or any other agency) can access or use your personal information at any time. Data collected can only be used for statistical purposes that help inform important decisions, including how much federal funding your community receives.
The Census Bureau will never ask for a Social Security number, bank or credit card account number, money or donations, or anything on behalf of a political party. The robust cybersecurity program incorporates industry best practices and federal security standards for encrypting data.
Census 101: What You Need To Know
2020 Census FAQ
2020 Census Informational Questionnaire