Billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads and other resources based on census data.
The census count determines the number of U.S. House of Representatives seats for each state and is used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.
Beginning in mid-March, the 2020 Census can be completed online at my2020census.gov, by phone at 844-330-2020, or via mail. The Census includes a few short questions about each person in a household and takes less than 10 minutes to complete. In early March, every home will receive an invitation in the mail with census instructions.
The U.S. Census Bureau is bound by law to protect your answers and keep them strictly confidential. Every employee takes an oath to protect your personal information for life.
Census data cannot be shared with law enforcement and can never be used to determine government benefit eligibility.
Counting Young Children is Especially Important
Children under age 5 are the group most often undercounted on the census, and have the most to lose if they are missed. By counting all children, we help shape future support for programs such as health insurance, hospitals, childcare, food assistance, schools and early childhood development.
If you have young children, make sure they are counted!
- Count children in the home where they live and sleep most of the time, even if their parents don’t live there.
- If a child’s time is divided between more than one home, count them where they stay most often. If their time is evenly divided, or you don’t know where they stay most often, count them where they are staying on Census Day—April 1, 2020.
- If a child’s family (or guardian) is moving during March or April 2020, count them at the address where they are living on April 1, 2020.
- Count children in your home if they don’t have a permanent place to live and are staying in your home on April 1, 2020, even if they are only staying with you temporarily.
- Count newborn babies at the home where they will live and sleep most of the time, even if they are still in the hospital on April 1, 2020.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s in it for me?
- Your responses inform where over $675 billion is distributed each year to communities nationwide for clinics, schools, roads, and more.
- Census data gives community leaders vital information to make decisions about building community centers, opening businesses, and planning for the future.
- Responding also fulfills your civic duty because it’s mandated by the U.S. Constitution. The United States has counted its population every 10 years since 1790.
- Your responses are used to redraw legislative districts and determine the number of seats your state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.
- Is my information safe?
Your responses to the 2020 Census are safe, secure, and protected by federal law. Your answers can only be used to produce statistics. They cannot be used against you by any government agency or court in any way—not by the FBI, not by the CIA, not by the DHS, and not by ICE.
- What will I be asked?
You will be asked a few simple questions, like age, sex, and the number of people who live in your home, including children.
- What won’t be asked?
The census will never ask for Social Security numbers, bank or credit card numbers, money or donations, or anything related to political parties.
Explore Census Questions
Curious about the questions that are asked in the census? You can explore the census questions here.