What is the Census?
- The census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution.
- The census is a count of everyone residing in the United States: in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. This includes people of all ages, races, ethnic groups, both citizens and non-citizens.
- The next census day is April 1, 2020.
- Your participation in the census is required by law.
- It takes less than 10 minutes to complete. The 2020 Census questionnaire asks only a few simple questions of each person -- name, relationship, gender, age and date of birth, race, and whether the respondent owns or rents his or her home.
- Federal law protects the personal information you share during the census. The Census Bureau does not release or share information that identifies individual respondents or their household for 72 years.
Why is the Census important?
- MONEY - Census data are used to distribute $300 billion in federal funds to local, state and tribal governments each year. Congress uses census data to allocate funds under various federal grant programs to state governments. Many state-funded grant programs also rely on census data. Because the annual population estimates use the decennial census counts as a base, if a community's population is undercounted in the decennial census, these funds get misallocated for an entire decade.
- INFRASTRUCTURE - Census data guide local decision-makers in important community planning efforts, including where to build new roads, hospitals and schools.
- POWER - Census data are used to apportion Congressional seats to states. Census data affect your voice in Congress by determining how many seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Expected Shifts in Representation, 2010 to 2020
Census Engagement Navigator
Explore the 2010 Census Mail Return Rate by State, County, or Census Tract.