2020 Census – “ The Census is coming… The Census is Coming!”
What you need to know about the 2020 Census and why it is essential that everyone is counted.
Every 10 years, the results of the census are used to reapportion the House of Representatives, determining how many seats each state gets. Every person living in the U.S. is counted once and only once and in the right place. Started in March 2020 people will be able to provide their data.
It’s in the Constitution! The U.S. Constitution requires a census every 10 years. The census covers the entire country and everyone living here. The first census was 1790. After each census, state officials use the results to redraw the boundaries of their congressional and state legislative districts, adapting to population shifts.
Census data determine how more than $675 billion are spent, supporting your state, county and community’s vital programs. Completing the census is required, it’s a way to participate in our democracy and say, “I Count.”
The census also provides government funds for the free and reduced lunch program, Medicaid, and transportation, for instance. Businesses use census data to decide where to build factories, offices and stores, which create jobs. Local governments use the census for public safety and emergency preparedness. Real estate developers use the census to build new homes and revitalize old neighborhoods, for example.
Your data are confidential
Federal Law protects your census responses. So, your answers can only be used to produce statistics. By law, they cannot share your information with immigration enforcement agencies, law enforcement agencies, or allow it to be used to determine your eligibility for government benefits. In 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that even addresses are confidential and cannot be disclosed through legal discovery or the Freedom of Information Act. In 2010, the U.S. Justice Department determined that the Patriot Act determined that the Patriot Act does not override the law that protects the confidentiality of individual census responses. No court of law can subpoena census responses. All Census Bureau staff take a lifetime oath to protect your personal information, and any violation comes with a penalty of up to $250,000 and/or up to 5 years in prison.
It’s your choice: you can respond securely online, by mail, or by phone
You will have the option of responding online, by mail, or by phone. Households that don’t respond in one of these ways will be visited by a census taker to collect the information in person. Regardless of how you respond, your personal information is protected by law.
Your online responses are safe from hacking and other cyber threats.
The Census Bureau takes strong precautions to keep online responses secure. Therefore, all data submitted online are encrypted to protect personal privacy, and the cyber security program meets the highest and most recent standards for protecting personal information. As a result, once the data are received, they are no longer online. From the moment the Census Bureau collects responses, their focus and legal obligation is to keep them safe.
The Census Bureau needs your help
The Census Bureau will need our help, because we are the experts of our community. They need ideas on the best way to make sure everyone in your community gets counted. Go to Census.gov/partners or census.gov for more information.