2020 Census

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.

2020 Census

The 2020 US Census is here! 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.

Complete the 2020 US Census

 

​What to Expect

2020 Census

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!)

  • By phone

  • By mail

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.

 

How the Census Benefits Our Community

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.

 

2020 Census at a Glance

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

Everyone counts

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

September 2018

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.

April 2019

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.

August 2019

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.

January 2020

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.

March 2020

The public can begin responding to the 2020 Census online at 2020census.gov. Replying by mail or phone will also be an option.

April 2020

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.

2021

Initial 2020 Census data are made available to the public on census.gov.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a census and why is it important?

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.

How do I answer the race question if I don’t know my family’s ethnic origin?

  • Your answer to this question should be based on how you identify. Each person can decide how to answer.

  • Please note that you can mark more than one race for each person.

  • Please answer both the question about Hispanic origin and the question about race.

  • If you don't know the answer, please move on to the next question.

  • When answering on the online questionnaire, you are asked to select one or more boxes and then enter detailed origins in the fields below each checkbox. If you don't know this person's origin, you can leave this field blank. If you check a box, but leave the origin fields blank, a message will appear at the top of the screen and the blank field will be highlighted in red. If you do not know this person's origin, click next again to continue completing your response.

Who Should Be Counted and Where?

You should be counted where you are living and sleeping most of the time as of April 1, 2020. If you are responding for your home, count everyone who lives and sleeps there most of the time as of April 1, 2020. This includes young children, foster children, roommates, and any family members or friends who are living with you, even temporarily.

Please note that if someone is staying with you temporarily on April 1 due to the COVID-19 situation, they should be counted where they usually live. This includes college students, who should still be counted at school, even if they are home early because of the COVID-19 situation. If they live in student housing, the college will count them. If they live off campus, they should respond for the off-campus address and include any roommates or other people living there.

If someone is staying with you on April 1 who doesn’t have a usual home elsewhere, please include them in your response.

People in some living situations—including students, service members, and people in health care facilities—may have questions about how to respond or where they should count themselves. You may also have questions if you are moving, have multiple residences, or have no permanent address.

How does the Census 2020 benefit Wake Forest?

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.

How can I respond to the Census 2020?

By April 2020, all households will receive an invitation in the mail to participate in the census. The process is quick and easy. You'll then have three options to respond:

  • Online (for the first time!)

  • By phone

  • By mail

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.

What will the census ask me?

  • How many people are living or staying at your home on April 1, 2020.

  • Whether the home is owned or rented.

  • About the sex of each person in the household.

  • About the age of each person in the household.

  • About the race of each person in a household.

  • About where a person in the household is of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin.

  • About the relationship of each person in the household to one central person.

Your answers will be kept confidential and are combined with information from other households to produce statistics that will never identify your household or any person in your household.

Am I required to respond to the 2020 Census?

Yes, all people living in the United States, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are required by law to be counted in the Census 2020. And just as you are required by law to participate, the Census Bureau is bound by law to protect your answers. Your responses are used only to produce statistics. The Census Bureau does not disclose any personal information.

Why do I have to fill out my census form? Doesn't the government already know who lives where?

No! In addition to the legal requirement that every person living in the United States, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and other US territories, you are being asked to fill out this form because the census offers a snapshot in time of who lives where. Maybe you moved cities in the past year, or your mother in law decided she’d like to live with you, the government does not have a complete snapshot of who lives where – we need the census to give us that information.

That information is then used to allocate funding, determine congressional seats (which are allotted based on population in specific geographic areas) and provide funding for vital services. It’s like your taxes, if you don’t fill them out you won’t get a refund – if you don’t fill out your census form, federal funding that contributes to services you enjoy will not be received.

How do the postcards with my response code get mailed out?

The local updates of Census Address or "LUCA" as it is commonly known, is the only opportunity offered to tribal, state, and local governments to review and comment on the U.S. Census Bureau's residential address list for their jurisdiction prior to the 2020 Census. Two years prior to every census, the U.S. Census Bureau sends their most current database of local addresses and asks communities to review and verify the information so that they can subtract addresses that had been incorrectly included and add addresses to which the U.S. Census Bureau has no record.

To accomplish this, the Town of Wake Forest works with Wake County to check and verify existing records all new residential construction permits. This allows us to obtain an accurate count of addresses for both single-family and multi-family housing. If there is any doubt in the address data, local officials visit sites in person to confirm both the unit count and that the sites are residential. This ensures that the Census is able to reach out to every single residential address and each individual living unit.

How are college students counted?

Financial support does not factor into where a student is counted for the 2020 census.

College students living away from their parents’ or guardians’ home while attending college in the U.S. are counted at their on-campus or off-campus residence where they live and sleep most of the time. This also applies to college students who live at home during breaks or vacation only. Whichever residence the student lives and sleeps at most of the time should be counted as their residence.

If the college student is living at their parents’ or guardians’ home while attending college, they are counted at their parents’ or guardians’ home.

College students who are foreign citizens living in the U.S. while attending college are counted at the on-campus or off-campus U.S. residence where they live and sleep most of the time.

College students who are U.S. citizens living outside the U.S. while attending college are not counted in the census.