Top 7 Things You Need to Know About the 2020 Census

By: Aminah Luqman

1. What is the census?

The census is a government survey that only happens every 10 years and asks basic questions like the name, age, race and ethnicity of each person living in your household. The census is required by law for all people living in the United States. The census will NOT ask about your immigration or citizenship status. 

2. Why should we get counted?

An accurate count ensures that government resources are fairly distributed and that everyone is represented equally in our political system. Each person not counted in the census could result in a loss of $1,000/year in community funding for the next 10 years. Our communities stand to lose $10,000 in federal funding for schools, healthcare, highways, social services and housing for each person that isn’t counted in the 2020 census.    

3. Who counts in the census?

EVERYONE! Think of the census as a selfie of the U.S. We want to make sure that all people living in the U.S. on April 1, 2020 are counted. This includes babies, young children, seniors, immigrants, formerly incarcerated individuals and people who are not living in houses or apartments.

You also want to make sure that everyone living at your residence is counted regardless of their relationship to you. This includes relatives and extended family, roommates and non-family renters that may be living in the garage or a backyard unit.

4. How will most people take part in the count?

People will have 3 ways to respond in the 2020 Census. You can respond confidentially online, by phone or by mail starting in March 2020.

San Francisco Bay Area residents can also visit a Questionnaire Assistance Center (QAC) for in-language assistance in filling out the questionnaire. Text “COUNT” to 415-340-7170 for updates about the census and your nearest QAC.

5. When will the counting process begin?

Census Day is officially April 1, 2020. However, most people can respond online, by phone, or by mail between March and April 2020. People who do not self-respond to the census by April 30, 2020 will be visited by a Census Bureau worker between May and July.

6. Where do we get counted?

Most people are counted at the residence where they live most of the time. People experiencing homelessness and people living in “group quarters” and “transitory locations” will be counted as part of a number of special enumeration processes that will take place between March and June.

7. How do I know my census responses are secure?

The census response website is protected by sophisticated cybersecurity measures and extremely strong laws.

Every Census Bureau employee takes an oath to protect your information for life and the Census Bureau is NOT allowed to share your personal information with anyone, including ICE, your landlord, police or other agencies.

The Census Bureau CANNOT share personal information about you. They can only use your response on the 2020 Census to create general information about the population, like how many people live in your city and the statistics about age, gender and race in your community.

To learn more about United Way Bay Area’s role in Census 2020, click here.

To learn more about Census 2020, click here.

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