The 2020 Census


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For further details and information about the U.S Census, please refer to the official
2020 Census Website.

What is the Census?

The census is a mechanism whereby the U.S. Government counts its population, in order to better understand its demographics, determine how federal funding is appropriated to states, ensure representation is equitable across the country, and more. The census provides critical data to federal, state, and local entities so that they can better support their communities.

Article I, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution requires that this population and housing count occur every 10 years. The 2020 Census is conducted under the authority of U.S. Code Title 13, sections 141, 193, and 221. This collection of information has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget. The U.S. Census is managed and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Responding to the Census

Yes. Everyone living in the United States and its five territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) is required by law to be counted in the census—whether they are citizens or not. Citizens of foreign countries who are living in the United States during the 2020 Census, should be counted at the U.S. residence where they live and sleep most of time. If they are not sure about where they usually live, count them where they are staying on April 1, 2020.

You should be counted where you are living and sleeping most of the time as of April 1, 2020. One person per household should respond. If you are responding for your home, count everyone who lives and sleeps there most of the time as of April 1, 2020. This includes young children, foster children, roommates, and any family members or friends who are living with you, even temporarily.

The 2020 Census is happening now! You can complete your questionnaire online, by phone, or by mail.

Households began receiving invitations to respond to the 2020 Census between March 12-20. There are additional reminders to respond that will be mailed throughout the month. Once you receive your invitation, you can respond online, by phone, or by mail. If a household does not respond to the 2020 Census, a census taker will follow up in person to collect their response. This will occur between April-July.

College students living in on-campus housing are counted through their university as part of our Group Quarters Operation, which counts all students living in university owned housing. See I live On-Campus, how do I complete the census? below for further details.

The 2020 Census will ask a few simple questions about you and everyone who is or will be living with you on April 1, 2020. For the first time, you can choose to complete the census online, by phone, or by mail. Find out more about each of these methods below:

If you do not receive an invitation to respond from the Census Bureau, you may respond online.

If you live in off-campus housing that is not owned, leased, or managed by your college or university, such as a private house that you share with other students or a privately owned apartment, you can respond online, by phone, or by mail. You should count yourself at your off-campus address, even if you spend time somewhere else during school breaks.

Residences will begin receiving their invitation to respond to the 2020 Census between March 12-20. These official Census Bureau mailings will include detailed information and a Census ID for completing the Census online. Households can complete the census online, by phone, or by mail. If a household does not respond to the 2020 Census, a census taker will follow up in person to collect their response. This will occur between April-July. 

One person should respond for each home, apartment, etc.  That person must be at least 15 years old. They should live in the home or place of residence themselves and know general information about each person living there. 

College students living in on-campus housing are counted through their university as part of the Group Quarters Operation, which counts all students living in university owned housing If you live in on-campus student housing like residence halls, off-campus residence halls, or other student housing facilities that are owned, leased, or managed by your college or university, U.S. Census Bureau employees will work with representatives from your building to ensure that you are counted in one of the following ways: 

  • A census taker may drop off census forms with your building contact person, who will distribute one to each resident.
  • A census taker may interview each resident in your building to complete the census form. 
  • A representative from your dorm or building may complete the census form on behalf of all residents. 

Please do not complete the paper questionnaire that may have been mailed to you.

The 2020 Census asks how many people are living or staying at each address. For each person, we the census asks about name, sex, age, date of birth, relationship, Hispanic origin, and race. In addition, information about the housing unit (house, apartment, or mobile home, owned/rented) is requested. The contact information of the person completing the census is requested in case additional information is needed. The census DOES NOT ask about immigration status!

Yes. You can respond online in English and in 12 additional languages: Spanish, Chinese (Simplified), VietnameseKoreanRussianArabicTagalogPolishFrenchHaitian CreolePortuguese, and Japanese.

The online questionnaire conforms with the latest web accessibility guidelines. There is also a video in American Sign Language to guide you through responding online. We’ll also make help available by phone in those same languages.

You can respond by phone in English, Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese) Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese and Japanese. The paper form can be completed in English or Spanish.

By law, the U.S. Census Bureau can use your responses only to produce statistics. The Federal Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2015 ensures that your data is protected from cybersecurity risks. The Census Bureau is not permitted to publicly release your responses in a way that could identify you or your household. By law, the Census Bureau can use your responses only to produce statistics. If you respond online, all web data submissions are encrypted in order to protect your privacy. If you respond using a paper questionnaire, your completed questionnaire will be destroyed after processing.

No. Your information is completely confidential and protected by law and cannot be shared with any other government agencies, including law enforcement or immigration officials. Federal law (U.S. Code Title 13, Section 9) protects your privacy and keeps your answers safe and secure. 

Census takers begin following up with households that haven’t responded around mid- April. By starting early, the Census Bureau count households in areas with off-campus housing before the end of the spring semester when students may leave for another residence. 

If you don’t respond, you aren’t counted. Less information about your community is garnered and less resources are allocated to your community.


Immigration Status

No, but if you don’t respond, you aren’t counted. Less information about your community is garnered and less resources are allocated to your community.

No! The U.S. Census does not ask questions pertaining to immigration status.


Census Takers

Census Takers are employees of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Census takers will visit some homes in April to conduct quality check interviews or deliver paper questionnaires, and then in mid-May to help collect responses.

Census takers begin following up with households that haven’t responded yet around some colleges and universities. By starting early, we can count households in areas with off-campus housing before the end of the spring semester when students may leave for another residence. 

All Census Bureau workers carry official government badges and should identify themselves immediately when they come to your home. If someone visits your home to collect information for the 2020 Census, check to make sure that they have a valid ID badge, with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. Census workers may also carry Census Bureau bags and other equipment with the Census Bureau logo. If you still have questions about their identity, you can contact your Regional Census Center to speak with a Census Bureau representative. There is useful information on 2020census.gov to help respondents better understand what census takers ask and don't ask for when conducting their survey.


General Resources

For more information about the 2020 Census, see the following:
2020 Census 
2020 Census FAQS
2020 Census COVID-19 Updates
College Students and the 2020 Census
Getting Counted while in College
Foreign Nationals and the 2020 Census
Modifying 2020 Census Operations to Make Sure College Students are Counted

For further details and information about the U.S Census, please refer to the official 2020 Census Website.