The Census is one of the most important surveys a person living in America can fill out. Now, we can fill it out online or by phone

Every 10 years, it’s the count that’s taken of everyone in the United States, regardless of age and citizenship status.  Completing the Census is particularly important because for the next 10 years it will determine how BILLONS in federal funding is divided among communities for education, housing, roads, hospitals, nutrition assistance programs, etc. They also help determine the boundaries for voting districts, and help businesses decide what areas to build and invest in.

Simply put, every household in you neighborhood that does the Census means more federal funding (like SNAP) your community will receive.

AND, this year it can be done online or by phone, so there’s no excuse to skip it!

Flip through these slides for the details!


Start Looking:  2020 Census ‘Invites’ Will be Arriving Soon  

After nearly a year of pre-event hype, The U.S. Census says “invitation” to respond to the 2020 Census questionnaire will be arriving in households between March 12 and March 20.

This invitation will include instructions on how to respond to the 2020 Census online or by phone. By April 1, most households will have received an invitation delivered either by mail or by a census taker. In areas of the country that are less likely to respond online, a paper questionnaire will be included in the initial mailing to households.

Reminder mailings will be sent to households that do not respond, and in the fourth mailing every household that has not yet responded will receive a paper questionnaire.

Once households receive invitations, they are asked to respond to the 2020 Census by using the provided Census ID. If a household is unable to enter the Census ID, people can still respond, by providing an address. Whether people respond online, by phone or by mail, it is important to respond right away.

“The 2020 Census is on mission, on schedule, and on budget to promote an accurate count,” said Census Bureau Director Dr. Steven Dillingham said. “Response is important because statistics from the Census are used in distributing where hundreds of billions in funding for school lunches, hospitals, roads and much more. The invitations will remind respondents to include everyone living in the household, whether they are related or not. This includes young children. Your response will impact communities for the next decade.”

Below is a timeline of how and when the Census Bureau will invite households to complete the 2020 Census questionnaire:

March 12-20: Initial invitations to respond online and by phone will be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. Areas that are less likely to respond online will receive a paper questionnaire along with the invitation to respond online or over the phone.

March 16-24: Reminder letters will be delivered.

March 26-April 3: Reminder postcards will be delivered to households that have not responded.

April 8-16: Reminder letters and paper questionnaires will bedelivered to remaining households that have not responded.

April 20-27: Final reminder postcards will be delivered to households that have not yet responded before census takers follow up in person.

If a household does not respond to any of the invitations, a census taker will follow up in person sometime between May 13 and July 31. A sample of the 2020 Census paper questionnaire and preview of the online questionnaire is available, along with more information about when most people will receive their invitations in the mail.

The U.S. Constitution mandates a census of the population every 10 years. Census statistics help determine the number of seats each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives and how billions of dollars in federal funds are allocated to state and local communities for the next 10 years.


Census Protects Your Privacy   

Even though a citizenship question won’t be included, hype around the issue has caused many unauthorized immigrants to be concerned about the safety of participating in the census.

By law, the bureau cannot share the personal data collected with other agencies, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the Homeland Security Department, and, before it’s published, the data is stripped of all personal identifiable information.

Census records are kept private for 72 years, after which the National Archives will release them to the public to be used for genealogy.

All census workers must take a lifetime oath to protect personal information. Violations are punishable by up to five years in jail and a $250,000 fine.

The bureau has gone to extensive lengths over the past decade to ensure its new online system is safe, putting in safeguards against cyberthreats.


Census and Churches Team Up for Worship Weekend, March 27-29 

In an effort to boost awareness and decrease fears of the Census, the Census Bureau is teaming with church leaders across the country for the Faith Communities Census Weekend of Action, March 27-29.

The date was set to coincide with the arrival of census questionnaires in the mail beginning in mid-March and the actual census day, Wed., April 1, 2020.

It coincides with most citizens receiving Census info in the mail.

Faith leaders are being asked to incorporate information about the Census in their sermons and/or to include information about the Census in their church bulletins.

This outreach by the faith community is particularly important in communities of color who are most often undercounted.

“If I’ve learned one thing, it is that you are your community’s most trusted voice,” said Census Bureau Director Steve Dillingham, in a recent address to pastors.

That’s why the Census decided to partner with churches to help drive census participation. He hopes a message from a trusted leader may help squelch any fear individuals have about the completing the short 12-question survey.

“We’ve been undercounted decade after decade after decade,” said Al Fontenot, associate director, Decennial Census Programs at U.S. Census Bureau. “And if we allow fear to cause us to be undercounted one more time, we are putting power in the hands of people we do not want to put power in their hands.”

Fontenot is African American.

The Census has developed a Faith-based worship weekend toolkit that can be uploaded online.

In addition, Gordon Criswell, asst. county manager for the Wyandotte Unified Government developed this short notice (below) that churches might consider adding to their bulletin .


The Black Undercount: It’s Made Worse by the White Overcount  

In 1940, the U.S. Census knew it had an accuracy problem when it discovered 453,000 more men registered for the draft that year than were counted in the census. The 1940 census missed 3% of men age 21 to 35, but 13% of Black men in that age group.

That disparity was the first objective evidence of what is now called the differential undercount – a disproportionate undercounting of some population subgroups, most notably people of color, young children, and renters (a proxy for lower income households), compared to Whites, older Americans and homeowners.

It wouldn’t matter so much if the census missed relatively equal percentages of people in all communities and demographic groups – urban, suburban, and rural; poor and wealthy; predominantly White and predominantly Black or Latinx; young children and senior citizens – the result might not be 100% accurate, but at least it would be fair for key purposes for which census figures are used: allocation of political representation and government funding for vital services and programs.

However, scientific measurements of census accuracy since 1940 have shown a persistent, disproportionate undercount of certain population subgroups, which skews the results in favor of some communities over others.

The Differential Undercount — The Gap

More than just the undercount of Blacks and Latinos matter. You must also consider the consistent overcount of Whites to come up with a number to measure the complete impact. It is this disparity that deprives underserved communities of political power, government resources and, often, private sector investment.

For example the estimated undercount of African American in the 2010 Census was 2.06%. The over-count of the White population was .83%. Combined, the “differential undercount” for African Americans was closer to 3%. This gross error compounds the problem of inequality in the census, because wealthier, predominantly White communities receive more than their fair share of influence and resources, while poorer, non-White areas receive less than they should.


What Does the Census Ask?  

Although you may receive the census ahead of Census Day, April 1, 2020, you are to answer the question as it pertains to everyone living in your household on April 1, 2020.

First of all, what the Census does NOT ask:

• Your social security number

• The social security number of anyone in your household

• If you’re a citizen of the United States

There are basically 12 easy questions, but you have to answer the questions about each of the people who live in your household.

What the Census DOES Ask: 

1. How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2020? 

Here, you’ll count everyone living and sleeping in your home most of the time, including young children, roommates, and friends and family members who are living with you, even temporarily.

2. Were there any additional people staying here on April 1, 2020, that you did not include in Question 1? 

Mark all that apply: Children, related or unrelated, such as newborn babies, grandchildren, or foster children; relatives, such as adult children, cousins, or in-laws; nonrelatives, such as roommates or live-in babysitters, and people staying here temporarily.

3. Is this house, apartment, or mobile home …Owned by you or someone in this household with a mortgage or loan? Include home equity loans. Is it owned by you or someone in this household free and clear (without a mortgage or loan)? Rented? Occupied without payment of rent? 

4. What is your telephone number? 

The Census Bureau asks for your phone number in case there are any questions about your census form. We will only contact you for official census business, if needed.

5. What is Person 1’s name? 

If there is someone living here who pays the rent or owns the residence, start by listing him or her as Person 1. If the owner or the person who pays the rent does not live here, start by listing any adult living there as Person 1. There will be opportunities to list the names of additional members of your household.

6. What is Person 1’s sex? 

This allows the Census to create statistics about males and females, which can be used in planning and funding government programs. This data can also be used to enforce laws, regulations, and policies against discrimination.

7. What is Person 1’s age and what is Person 1’s date of birth? 

Note Person 1’s age as of April 1, 2020. For babies less than 1 year old, do not write the age in months. Write 0 as the age.

8. Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin? 

You are to answer both question 8 about Hispanic origin and question 9 about race. For this census, Hispanic origins are not races. Hispanic origin can be viewed as the heritage, nationality, lineage, or country of birth of the person or the person’s parents or ancestors before arriving in the United States. People who identify as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish may be any race.

9. What is Person 1’s race? 

You can mark one or more boxes. Options include: White; Black or African American; American Indian or Alaska Native; Chinese; Filipino; Asian Indian; Vietnamese; Korean; Japanese; other Asian; Native Hawaiian; Samoan; Chamorro; other Pacific Islander; some other race.

10. Print name of Person 2. 

Here, you will list the next person in your household.

11. Does this person usually live or stay somewhere else?  

Mark all that apply: no; yes, for college; yes, for a military assignment; yes, for a job or business; yes, in a nursing home; yes, with a parent or other relative; yes, at a seasonal or second residence; yes, in a jail or prison; yes, for another reason.

This question helps ensure that the Census Bureau is counting everyone once, only once, and in the right place. If you have questions about whether or not to include someone, visit Who To Count.

12. How is this person related to Person 1? 

Mark ONE box; opposite-sex husband/wife/spouse; opposite-sex unmarried partner; same-sex husband/wife/spouse; same-sex unmarried partner; biological son or daughter; adopted son or daughter; stepson or stepdaughter; brother or sister; father or mother; grandchild; parent-in-law; son-in-law or daughter-in-law; other relative; roommate or housemate; foster child; other nonrelative.

Why we ask this question: This allows the Census Bureau to develop data about families, households, and other groups. Relationship data is used in planning and funding government programs that support families, including people raising children alone.


Watch Out for Census Scammers  

The Census Bureau will attempt to contact you six times before they try to locate you in person.

To protect yourself from scammers, keep in mind:

• The Census Bureau will never contact you with an unsolicited e-mail

• The bureau will never ask for your social security number

• The bureau will never ask you for your bank account or credit card account information

• The bureau will never ask you to pay for anything

If someone shows up at your door, you should ask to see identification. A valid ID will have their picture, a special watermark, and expiration date. You will also be able to call 1-800-923-8282 to check if the person standing at your door is really who they say they are and works for the Census Bureau.

If you know you have already filled out the form online, by phone, or through the mail, you should call the police immediately if someone claiming to be from the Census shows up at your door.


The Census is Still Hiring  

The Census Bureau is still filling positions to help with the count.

The pay rate is $15 to $17 per hour, depending on location. Training is paid, and employees are paid weekly. Visit

Schedules are flexible and can accommodate people who already work full or part-time jobs.

Jobs include fieldwork counting in person, and office jobs that do not require walking or driving, which may be good for seniors.

Job seekers should fill out an application now and as jobs become available, the bureau will reach out.

To Be a Census Taker you must:

• Be a U.S. citizen.

• Be at least 18 years.

• Have a Social • Security number that’s valid.

• Pass a background check.

• Have a working email address.

• Complete four days of training.