What is the Census?

The census occurs every 10 years and is required by the Constitution. It is more than just a nationwide head count—the 2020 census will be the foundation for all data in the U.S. for the next 10 years. Policy leaders, businesses, schools, health care, and philanthropy all use census data to make important decisions for our communities. Programs such as Medicaid, CHIP, SNAP and highway planning and repairs get their funding from census data. In addition to adequate funding, the census also determines political representation in the House of Representatives.

What makes the 2020 CEnsus different?

The 2020 census is the first decennial census where the Census Bureau is promoting an online response as the preferred method for completing the questionnaire. Instead of receiving the questionnaire at home, the majority of households will receive a unique code to answer the census questionnaire online. This decision by the Bureau affects populations who may have trouble accessing the internet to fill out the questionnaire, such as older, rural, and native populations.

Beyond challenges with internet access, the 2020 census is also more politically charged than in years past. A question that asked respondents about their citizenship status was ultimately not included on the 2020 census, but the fear and confusion surrounding the question may limit self-response rates, particularly among hard-to-count populations. The National Association of Latino Elected Officials conducted a survey in an end-to-end test site which found that 82% of white residents, 78% of latino residents, and 70% of black residents agreed with the statement that “Many people in Providence County will be afraid to participate in the 2020 Census because it will ask whether each person in the household is a citizen.”


How DO I respond to the Census?

Mail - Available in English and Spanish

Internet – Available in 13 languages

Phone – Available in 13 languages

Languages online and over the phone include:

Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Japanese.

What are the key dates?

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March 12th, 2020: First mailers will be sent to households. Online portal to respond to 2020 Census will be open.

April 1st, 2020: Official Census Day!

End of April, 2020—July 2020: Nonresponse Follow Up. Census takers will visit households that did not respond to initial census form