The U.S. Census Bureau is the federal government’s largest statistical agency. The Census Bureau is dedicated to providing current facts and figures about America’s people, places, and economy. Federal law protects the confidentiality of all individual responses the Census Bureau collects. The U.S. Constitution requires that each decade we take a count -- or a census -- of America’s population.
The census is a count of every person who lives in the United States and its territories. It happens every 10 years. You will be asked to count everyone who lives in your home as of April 1.
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. Confidentiality violation is a federal crime that may include a prison sentence, a fine or both. Online responses are secured by multiple layers of encryption and isolated from online access as soon as you hit submit.
Census Day is April 1, 2020. However, in March every household in America will receive a notice to complete the census online, by phone, or by mail and responses will be accepted as soon as you receive your invitation to respond. In May, the U.S. Census Bureau will begin following up in person with households that have yet to respond.
In 2020, the Census Bureau is implementing new technology to make it easier than ever to respond to the census. For the first time, you will be able to respond online, by phone, as well as by mail. The Census will be printed in English and Spanish. Telephone assistance and the online Census questionnaire will be available in 13 languages. Guides and glossaries will be available in 59 non-English languages and Braille.
Here’s a timeline:
(You can help the Census Bureau save postage or other costs by responding right away!)
You will be asked a few simple questions, like age, sex and the number of people who live in your home, including children -- even newborn infants. (In the Additional Resources below is a sample questionnaire.)
The census will never ask for Social Security numbers, bank or credit card numbers, money or donations, or anything related to political parties.
Thomas Jefferson directed the first decennial census in 1790. As required by the U.S. Constitution, a census has been taken every 10 years thereafter. In 1840, the Census Act authorized the establishment of a centralized Census Office. In 1902, the Census Office became a permanent organization within the Department of the Interior. A year later, it was renamed the Bureau of the Census and moved to the new Department of Commerce and Labor.
Below are some downloadable PDFs with additional information. You can also visit 2020CENSUS.GOV or OKletsCount.org
Invitation Letter (sample)
2020 Informational Questionnaire (sample)
Fact Sheet About How Census Invites Everyone
Fact Sheet Responding Online
Responding Without Census ID Fact Sheet
US Census Your Community Fact Sheet
(The information above was taken from 2020 Census resources and OK Let’s Count resources.)