Once a decade, America comes together to count every resident in the United States, creating national awareness of the importance of the census and its valuable statistics. The decennial census was first taken in 1790, as mandated by the Constitution. It counts our population and households, providing the basis for reapportioning congressional seats, redistricting, and distributing more than $675 billion in federal funds annually to support states, counties and communities’ vital programs — impacting housing, education, transportation, employment, health care and public policy.
The next census is coming in 2020. Counting an increasingly diverse and growing population is a massive undertaking. It requires years of planning and the support of thousands of people. Ultimately, the success of the census depends on everyone’s participation. The Census Bureau depends on cross-sector collaborations with organizations and individuals to get people to participate. The 2020 Census is important for you and your community, and you can help.
Learn more about the 2020 Census.
What to Expect
By April 2020, households will receive an invitation to participate in the census. The process is quick and easy. You'll then have three options to respond:
Online (for the first time!)
If you are filling out the census for your household, you should count anyone who is living there as of April 1, 2020. This includes anyone who is living and sleeping there most of the time.
Get details on how to count young children and how to handle special circumstances here.
Federal funds, grants and support to states, counties and communities are based on population totals and breakdowns by sex, age, race and other factors. Your community benefits the most when the census counts everyone. People in your community use census data in all kinds of ways, such as these:
Residents use the census to support community initiatives involving legislation, quality-of-life and consumer advocacy.
Local government officials use the census to ensure public safety and plan new schools and hospitals.
Businesses use Census Bureau data to decide where to build factories, offices and stores, and these create jobs.
Real estate developers and city planners use the census to plan new homes and improve neighborhoods.
What You Should Know about the 2020 Census
Its about fair representation
Every 10 years, the results of the census are used to reapportion the House of Representatives, determining how many seats each state gets
Taking part is your civic duty
Completing the census is required: it's a way to participate in our democracy and say "I count!"
You can help
You are the expert - we need your ideas on the best way to make sure everyone in our community gets counted
It's about redistricting
After each census, state officials use the results to redraw the boundaries of their congressional and state legislative districts, adapting to population shifts
The census counts every person living in the US once, only once, and in the right place.
Your data are confidential
Federal law protects your census responses. Your answers can only be used to produce statistics. By law we cannot share your information with immigration enforcement agencies, law enforcement agencies, or allow it to be used to determine your eligibility for government benefits.
Key Milestones for the 2020 Census
The Census Bureau’s recruitment Web site went live: 2020census.gov/jobs. For each decennial census, the Census Bureau begins recruiting thousands of paid census takers to help ensure a complete and accurate count. Interested applicants can visit the Web site to apply for a variety of jobs beginning in 2019 and through summer 2020.
The 2020 Census Web site goes live: 2020census.gov. This site will be available in multiple languages and will provide downloadable materials, answers to frequently asked questions, and more information about how individuals and organizations can help spread the word about the 2020 Census.
New Statistics in Schools classroom activities are available online: census.gov/schools. The Statistics in Schools program provides resources for teaching and learning with real-life data.
The first enumeration of the 2020 Census takes place in Toksook Bay, Alaska. Local census takers must get a head start while the frozen ground allows easier access to remote areas with unique accessibility challenges.
The public can begin responding to the 2020 Census online at 2020census.gov. Replying by mail or phone will also be an option.
Every 10 years, we observe Census Day on April 1.
June 2020 through July 2020
Census takers go door to door to count people who have not responded to the 2020 Census. Census takers are Census Bureau employees and will provide proof that they are official government personnel.
December 31, 2020
By this date, as required by law, the Census Bureau reports to the President of the United States the population count and the apportionment of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives to each state.
Initial 2020 Census data are made available to the public on census.gov.