Census

What Is the 2020 Census?

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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 2020 Census counts the population in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana 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.

Why We Conduct This Count

The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and 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 the 24th time that the country has counted its population since 1790.

Counting Everyone

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.


Ways To Respond

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There are three ways to respond to the 2020 Census.

By April 1, 2020, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. You will have three options for responding:

  • Online.
  • By phone.
  • By mail.

The 2020 Census marks the first time you'll have the option to respond online. You can even respond on your mobile device.

Different Timelines and Processes for Some Locations

If you live in the following locations, there will be some differences in your timeline for completing the 2020 Census or in the ways you can respond:

  • Puerto Rico.
  • The U.S. Island Areas (American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands).
  • Very remote areas, such as parts of northern Maine and Alaska.
  • Areas that experienced a natural disaster.
  • Group living arrangements, such as on-campus student housing, correctional facilities, military bases, health care facilities, and shelters.

Special Circumstances

For some people, it's not clear how they should count themselves or the people in their home. These circumstances may include:

  • People who live in more than one place.
  • People who are moving on Census Day (April 1, 2020).
  • People who are born or die on Census Day (April 1, 2020).
  • People experiencing homelessness.

For more information, visit Who To Count.

For more information please visit the Census.gov website.