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The U.S. Constitution mandates that every 10 years there is a Census that counts every resident in the United States. It's sometimes called the Decennial Census because it occurs every 10 years.
The information the Census collects helps determine how more than $675 billion of federal funding is distributed to states and communities each year.
The 2020 Census will be the first Census to offer an online response option. Everyone has the option of taking the Census on paper, over the phone or online, whichever you prefer. Most households (80%) will receive a letter in the mail, inviting them to respond online with a unique identification code. With the identification code, you will be able to fill out the 2020 census online. If you do not respond online using the identification code provided in the mail, a paper questionnaire will be sent to you which you can fill out and mail back to the Census Bureau. If you do not respond to the paper questionnaire, individual Census takers will try to contact you by knocking on your door. The other 20% of households, mostly seniors and people with no internet, will be sent a paper questionnaire to be completed and returned by mail. Those mailings will also include the option to complete the survey online.
Yes. The Census Bureau will keep your responses to the survey safe, secure and encrypted at all times. The U.S. Census Bureau is only tabulating the data collected from your survey anonymously and on a broad scale. There are several legal protections which exist to safeguard your privacy and the confidentiality of your responses.
The Census Act (also known as Title 13) includes strict confidentiality provisions prohibiting any employees of the Commerce Department or Census Bureau from using information collected via the decennial Census for anything other than the production of statistical databases. Additionally, Title 13 prohibits any federal, state and local agencies from using data collected via the decennial Census to the "detriment" of any individual who responded to the survey from which the dataset is built.
Your individual information is protected under a federal law known as the "72-year rule" which mandates that individual-level records are protected for 72 years after the Census is taken. For privacy reasons, access to personally identifiable information contained in decennial Census records is restricted to all but the individual named on the records or their legal heir for 72 years.
Yes. The U.S. Constitution requires that the Census counts every resident in the United States regardless of their immigration status. All people should be counted to ensure that our community is fully counted.
Maybe. Right now, civil rights organizations and 17 states and the District of Columbia are suing to block the Trump Administration from adding a citizenship question. The Census hasn't included a question about citizenship on the form that goes to all households since 1950. It's not necessary, and in fact, there's evidence that the people behind this initiative have a racist agenda and their goal is to create fear and keep immigrant communities from being fully counted.
All responses to the Census are confidential and cannot be shared outside the Census Bureau - even with other government agencies. Personal information collected by the U.S. Census Bureau is protected under several federal laws and has the most iron clad confidentiality protection of any federal data.