The 2020 Census is happening now. Each household should have received an invitation to respond to the short questionnaire sometime during March. You can respond online, by phone or by mail. If you’re thinking, “It’s just a number. Do I really make a difference?” Yes, your response matters. Health clinics, fire departments, schools, even roads and highways — the census can shape many different aspects of your life and community.
The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers and many others use to provide daily services, products and support for you and your community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads and other resources based on census data. The results of the census also determines the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts. Over the next decade, lawmakers, business owners and many others will use 2020 Census data to make critical decisions. The results will show where communities need new schools, new clinics, new roads and more services for families, children and older adults.
The Census Bureau is bound by Title 13 of the U.S. Code to keep your information confidential for 72 years. Under Title 13, the Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about you, your home, or your business, even to law enforcement agencies. The law ensures that your private data is protected and that your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court. The answers you provide are used only to produce statistics. The Census Bureau is not permitted to publicly release your responses in any way that could identify you or anyone else in your home.
The U.S. Constitution requires a count of population every 10 years for all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands). The 2020 Census will be the twenty-fourth time the population has been counted since the first census in 1790.