Know the importance of the 2020 Census

Posted December 30, 2019 at 12:09 pm

What is a census and why is it important?

Once a decade, America comes together to count every resident in the United States, creating national awareness of the importance of the census and its valuable statistics. The decennial census was first taken in 1790, as mandated by the Constitution. It counts our population and households, providing the basis for reapportioning congressional seats, redistricting, and distributing more than $675 billion in federal funds annually to support states, counties and communities’ vital programs–impacting housing, education, transportation, employment, health care and public policy.

How the census benefits your community:

Federal funds, grants and support to states, counties and communities are based on population totals and breakdowns by sex, age, and other factors. Your community benefits the most when the census counts everyone. People in your community use census data in all kinds of ways such as these:

* Residents use the census to support community initiatives involving legislation, quality-of-life and consumer advocacy.

* Businesses use Census Bureau data to decide where to build factories, offices and stores, and these create jobs.

* Local government officials use the census to ensure public safety and plan new schools and hospitals.

* Real estate developers and city planners use the census to plan new homes and improve neighborhoods.

The next census is coming in 2020. Counting an increasingly diverse and growing population is a massive undertaking. It requires years of planning and the support of thousands of people.

Ultimately, the success of the census depends on everyone’s participation. The Census Bureau depends on cross-sector collaborations with organizations and individuals to get people to participate.

The 2020 Census is important to you and your community, and you can help.

In an ever changing environment, partners are trusted voices that help address our most pressing challenges such as:

* Constrained fiscal environment–Budget deficits place significant pressure on finding available the research, testing, design, and development work for successful innovation.

* Rapidly changing use of technology–Stakeholders expect the decennial census to use technology innovation, yet the rapid pace of change makes it challenging to plan for and adequately test the use of these technologies before they become obsolete.

* Declining response rates–Response rates for Census Bureau surveys, and for surveys and censuses in general, have declined as citizens are overloaded with requests for information and become increasingly concerned about sharing information.

* Increasingly diverse population–The demographic and cultural make-up of the United States continues to increase in complexity, resulting in a growing number of households and individuals who do not speak English as their native language, who have a wide variety of cultural traditions and mores, and who may have varying levels of comfort with government involvement.

* A mobile population–The United States continues to be a highly mobile nation–population moves and continued growth in the use of mobile technology can also complicate enumeration. Societal, demographic, and technological trends can result in a population that is harder and more expensive to enumerate as it becomes more challenging to local individuals and solicit their population through traditional methods.

What is the 2020 Census? The 2020 Census counts every person living in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories.

The count is mandated by the Constitution and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency. The five American territories included in the count are Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of Northern Marina Islands, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each home will receive an invitation to respond to a short questionnaire–online, by phone, or by mail. This will mark the first time that you will be able to respond to the census online.

The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for 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 determine 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.

It’s also in the Constitution: Article 1, Section 2, mandates that the country conduct a count of its population once every 10 years. The 2020 Census will mark its 24th time that the country has counted its population since 1790.

Participating in the census is required by law, even if you recently completed another survey from the Census Bureau. A complete and accurate count is critical for you and your community because the results of the 2020 Census will affect community funding, congressional representation, and more.

By April 1, 2020, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrives, you should respond for your home in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail.

Counting every person living in the United States is a massive undertaking, and efforts begin years in advance.

April 1 is Census Day, a key reference date for the 2020 Census. When completing the census, you will include everyone living in your home on April 1. Census Day will be celebrated with events across the country.

As early as 2019, you may have seen census takers in your neighborhood. This is a normal part of operations for the 2020 Census. Census Bureau employees will be in the community to continue collecting information for the American Community Survey and other ongoing surveys.

If anyone comes to your home to collect information for the 2020 Census, you can do the following to verify their identity:

* First, check to make sure they have a valid ID badge, with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and expiration date.

* If you still have questions about their identity, you can contact your Regional Census Center to speak with a Census Bureau representative.

You might see census takers in your community for different reasons:

* They are verifying addresses in preparation for the census.

* They are collecting responses to the census or another survey.

* They are dropping off census materials.

They are conducting quality checks related to the census. Census takers who verify addresses are called address canvassers. They help ensure an accurate and complete count by verifying addresses and noting where houses, apartments, shelters, and other residences are located. Census takers will attempt to knock on every door in the neighborhood they are canvassing.

In May 2020, census takers begin visiting homes that haven’t responded to the 2020 Census to help ensure everyone is counted. At the same time, other Census Bureau representatives will be visiting homes for ongoing surveys, such as the American Community Survey.

By April 1, 2020, all homes should have received the invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. The best way to avoid a follow-up visit from a census taker is to fill out the 2020 Census questionnaire online, by phone, or by mail as soon as you receive your invitation to participate.

To accurately count every person, the U.S. Census Bureau must:

* Make an accurate list of every residence in the U.S. and five territories–including houses, apartments, dormitories, military barracks, and more.

* Get a member of every residence to complete the census in March and April of 2020.

* Follow up in person with homes that have not responded.

To ensure a complete and accurate count, the Census Bureau counts people at their usual residence, which is the place where they live and sleep most of the time, with a few exceptions. People who do not have a usual residence should be counted where they are on Census Day, April 1, 2020.

The Census Bureau will continue to conduct other surveys, like the American Community Survey, during 2020. If you are contacted about another survey, it is very important to participate. But you will still be required to respond to the 2020 Census even if you participate in another survey.

The 2020 Census is more than a count. It’s an opportunity–to get involved to help shape the future of your community.

Everyone can play a role. The Census Bureau needs your help to raise awareness about the 2020 Census and the importance of an accurate count.

Through the power of your social media channels, you can help shape the world around you. Share interesting facts, real-life stories, and how-to information to encourage your friends and family members to participate in the 2020 Census.

Don’t let false information keep your friends and family members from responding.

One of the best ways you can show your support for the 2020 Census is by making sure you know the facts. Review the basics of the 2020 Census and how the Census Bureau protects your data–and then share these facts with your loved ones.

And if you hear false information, or are wondering whether a rumor you heard is true, please contact

Across the country, people are stepping up to support the 2020 Census. Check out the creative ways that the Census Bureau partners, community leaders, and others are making a difference.