Why is the Census Important?
Completing the Census: What do I Need to Know?
Accessibility and Details About Census Questions
Census Security and Privacy
Additional Information About Census
Why Do We Have a Census?
The Census is our national headcount mandated by the Constitution to take place every ten years. The 2020 Census is our chance to determine how our collective money and political power will be distributed. The Census will also determine how over $800 billion in federal funding is distributed every year, as well as the number of congressional seats and Electoral College votes each state receives.
How does the Census Help Me?
- Representation: Census data determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, along with districts for state government. The County of L.A. has 19 of 53 seats from California in the House of Representatives.
- Funding: LA County receives about $7 billion every year based on Census data. These programs include Medicaid, SNAP, Section 8 Housing, Special Education, Head Start, Child Welfare Programs, Foster Care, Job Training, Transportation and Older Adult Programs.
- Planning: Census data helps communities plan where schools, roads, hospitals, child care centers, senior centers and emergency services will be built.
- Business: The Census collects information that is valuable for businesses. They use Census data to determine where to open new stores, expand operations, conduct market research and determine which products and services to offer.
Who completes the Census?
Everyone. The Census counts all people who reside in the United States, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. International visitors on vacation or work trips to the U.S. during the census are not included. Each household must complete the Census. If multiple families live in the household, only one census form is completed.
Where can I complete the Census form?
You can complete the questionnaire online at 2020Census.gov.
What dates are important for the Census?
- April 1: Census Day
- March 12-20: Households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census.
- March 16-24: A reminder letter will be sent out to households.
- IF PERSON HAS NOT RESPONDED
- March 26-April 3: A reminder postcard will be sent out.
- April 8-16: A reminder letter and a paper questionnaire will be sent out.
- April 20-27: A final reminder postcard before Census follows up in person will be sent out.
- May 13: The non-response follow up period begins (Enumerator visits will begin)
- August 14: Non-response follow up period concludes (Enumerator visits will end)
Who should be counted in my household?
If you are filling out the census for your household, you should count everyone who is living there on April 1, 2020. This includes anyone who is living and sleeping there most of the time. If someone is staying in your home on April 1, and has no usual home elsewhere, you should count them in your response to the 2020 Census. Everyone living in each household, including newborns, older individuals, and people who are not family members, should be counted on the household’s 2020 Census form.
Can someone help me fill out the Census?
You should ask a trusted family member to help you if you think you need assistance. You can ask for an instruction booklet at the library, but library staff cannot assist you in completing the Census form. Library staff can give you the phone numbers to call if you do not want to complete the Census using a computer. You can view the list of phone numbers below.
Do I have to complete the Census online?
You can either complete the 2020 Census form online, via phone, or by mail. If you do not complete the form online, by phone or by mail, then it is likely a Census enumerator (a Census employee who is hired by the Census to collect Census data from the public) will visit your home to collect your responses.
- Online: For the first time in history, there will be the option to fill out the Census online at 2020Census.gov
- Phone: 1-800 numbers will be available to give the response in multiple languages over the phone. Please scroll down for a list of phone numbers.
- Mail/Paper Form: You will only receive a paper form if you do not self-respond on the internet or by phone.
Should I complete the Census if I think someone else has already counted our household?
Yes. It is okay to complete the form even if you think someone else in your household has already completed it. The Census Bureau has processes in place to resolve duplicate submissions.
What if I cannot answer all of the questions?
A complete response is required by law and all of the questions for every person in the household must be answered. If all of the questions are not answered, you will still be included in the headcount. You are encouraged to answer as many questions as accurately as possible to ensure your data is correct. Returning a partially filled-out questionnaire may result in a follow-up phone call or visit from a census worker. The U.S. Census Bureau may also try to fill in your missing information with data from secondary-administrative or third-party sources.
I lost my paper questionnaire or I never received one in the mail. How do I get a replacement?
You can still complete the questionnaire online at 2020Census.gov or by phone, all you have to do is provide your address instead of the code that was mailed to you.
Can I fill out the Census without the 16-digit code provided by the Census Bureau?
Yes, you can still respond without the code, but you will need to provide a valid physical address not a P.O. Box.
My neighbor received their Census letter invitation, but I didn’t. What should I do?
The U.S. Census Bureau (USCB) is staggering the mailer so not everyone will be receiving the letter at the same time. Here’s what the USCB says about what and when you will receive your letter. How the 2020 Census will invite everyone to respond
What Questions Will Be on the Census?
The Census will ask general demographic questions about you and the other people who live with you, like: name, race, gender, origin of birth, the relationship of the people living in the same house and whether the home is owned or rented. There will also be operational questions, like: how many people are living or staying at your home on April 1, 2020, and whether someone usually lives or stays somewhere else.
The Census long form was discontinued after the 2010 Census. Instead of using the long form for the Census every ten years, the Census now uses the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS questionnaire is sent out every year to around 3.5 million people and asks many more demographic questions.
The 2020 Census will take about 10 minutes to complete. It may take a little longer for larger households.
Is the Census form available in non-English languages?
Yes, please see below for details:
- Online Response: The online form will be available in English and 12 non-English languages: Arabic, Chinese (simplified), French, Haitian Creole, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese.
- Phone Response: If a person would like to respond via a phone call, in addition to English, all of the languages noted above with the additions of Cantonese and Mandarin will be available to respondents.
- Paper Response: The paper form is provided in English and in Spanish.
Phone numbers for assistance in multiple languages
- Spanish / Español
- Chinese / 普通話
- Chinese/ 廣東話
- Vietnamese / Tiếng Việt
- Korean / 한국어
- Russian / Русский
- Arabic / العربية
- Tagalog / Wikang Tagalog
- Polish / Język Polski
- French / Français
- Haitian Creole / Kreyòl Ayisyen
- Portuguese / Português
- Japanese / 日本語
- Telephone Display Device (TDD)
Do you have guides about Census 2020 in non-English languages?
Yes, Census information is available in 59 non-English languages. Census has made language guides and videos available. The videos are in Spanish and in English.
Is the Census available in Braille or American Sign Language?
The Census has also created a video in American Sign Language.
Is there a question about citizenship?
The 2020 Census questionnaire will NOT include a question about an individual’s citizenship status. Everyone, regardless of their immigration status, has certain basic rights.
What questions will not be asked by the Census?
It is critical to be cautious of any requests that seem suspicious.
The U.S. Census Bureau will never ask for the following:
- Payment to fill out the questionnaire
- Social Security number
- Financial information
U.S. Census Bureau field staff will always show a valid Census Bureau ID. You can confirm that they are a U.S. Census Bureau employee by entering their name into the Census Bureau Staff Search or by contacting the California Regional Office.
It is a federal crime to impersonate a federal official, and anyone who violates this law is subject to imprisonment.
Will My Information Be Safe?
Your personal information cannot be shared and cannot be used against you in any way, by anyone or any government agency or court of law, for any reason. Title 13 of the U.S. Code protects the confidentiality of personally identifiable information provided in census responses. The Federal Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2015 keeps your data secure and protected from cybersecurity threats. The Census Bureau has also taken significant steps to protect online responses. All information entered online is encrypted to protect your personal privacy.
How can I Identify a Census scam?
- The Census will not email you.
- If you receive an email that identifies as being from the Census, do not reply, do not click on any links, and do not open any attachments.
- Forward the email or website URL to the Census Bureau at email@example.com.
- Delete the message. The Census Bureau will investigate and notify you of the findings.
- All Census surveys are mailed from Jeffersonville, Indiana
- If someone calls your household to complete a survey:
Call to verify the caller is a Census Bureau employee through one of the Census Contact centers:
- The Census Bureau uses two contact centers, one in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and the other in Tucson, Arizona. The caller will identify themselves and the name of the survey. If they are unable to reach you, they will leave a message with a case ID associated with your survey.
- Most Census Bureau calls asking you to participate in a survey originate from one of the following numbers:
- 812-218-3144, Jeffersonville Contact Center
- 520-798-4152, Tucson Contact Center
If you receive a call and wish to independently verify that a number is from the Census Bureau, you can call one of the following numbers:
- 800-523-3205 - Jeffersonville, IN
- 800-642-0469 - Tucson, AZ
- 800-923-8282 - Customer Service Center
Los Angeles Regional Office 800-992-3530
How will I know that the person who comes to my house to collect Census data works for the Census?
You should request ID badge information to confirm the person’s name on the Census Bureau Staff Search.
If you are still unsure, call the LA Census Regional Office: 818-267-1700, or 800-992-3530 to verify the visitor is a Census Bureau employee.
Enumerators should present an ID badge with their photograph, the Department of Commerce watermark, and expiration date. Census employees may also have a laptop/bag with U.S. Census logo. Video: How to Identify a Census Employee?
I am hearing rumors about the Census 2020; how can I know what is true or false?
You can visit the Census Bureau’s official rumors webpage to learn the facts about the 2020 Census.
You can also report false information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I record my confirmation number that my Census form was completed and submitted?
Individuals with a smartphone may take a photo of their confirmation number or may write down their confirmation number once they complete their questionnaire.
Where can I read more about the Census?
You can find more information about the Census on: