What is the Decennial Census?
Every 10 years, the federal government conducts a population count of everyone in the United States. Data from the census provide the basis for distributing more than $675 billion in federal funds annually to communities across the country to support vital programs — housing, education, transportation, employment, health care, and public policy. They also are used to redraw the boundaries of congressional and state legislative districts and accurately determine the number of congressional seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Why the Census Matters
Responding to the census is not only your civic duty; it also affects the amount of funding your community receives, how your community plans for the future, and your representation in government. Specifically, data from the 2020 Census are used to:
Ways to Complete the CensusIn 2020, for the first time ever, the U.S. Census Bureau will accept responses online, but you can still respond by phone or mail if you prefer.
Estimated Census TimelineCounting every person living in the United States is a massive undertaking, and efforts begin years in advance. By April 1, 2020, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census.
What Information is Collected?
The census is designed to collect basic demographic and housing information (i.e., age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, relationship, and tenure) to be used for congressional apportionment and to provide data to states for intrastate redistricting. A sample 2020 Census Questionnaire is available for viewing here.
What Information is Not Collected?
During the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau will never ask you for:
If someone claiming to be from the Census Bureau contacts you and asks for any of the above information, it's a scam, and you should not cooperate. For more information, visit Avoiding Fraud and Scams.
Is My Information Confidential?
Your personal information is kept confidential. The Census Bureau is bound by federal law to protect your information, and your data is used only for statistical purposes.
Your responses are compiled with information from other homes to produce statistics, which never identify your home or any person in your home. Learn more about how the Census Bureau protects your information here.