by Ellen Squires
The 2020 U.S. Census is underway! Here are some fast facts about this year’s census:
What is the Census? The census, which happens every ten years, counts the population in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and the U.S. territories.
Why is it important? Census data is used by the government and others to provide community services. Billions of dollars of federal funding are earmarked for things like hospitals, schools, and highways, and the amount that is given to different communities is driven by census data. Census data is also used in politics; it helps determine boundaries of legislative districts, as well as the number of seats a state gets in the House of Representatives.
How does it work? In mid-March, a short questionnaire was mailed to homes across the country. You can complete the questionnaire online, by phone, or by mail. In addition to the mailed questionnaires, census workers will make a special effort to count people experiencing homelessness, college students, and those living in nursing homes. Census workers will also visit homes who have not responded from May through July.
What is asked? The census asks about everyone living in your household and gathers basic information like sex, age, race, and ethnicity. The census will NOT ask about whether you or anyone in your household is a citizen.
Let’s work together toward a complete and accurate count!