About The 2020 Census

Every 10 years, people across the country and in California fill out the Census in order to have an accurate count of all people in the United States. The Census determines California’s federal funding for important community services that help support our families and fair share of representation in California and Washington D.C.

The next Census is in Spring 2020. Let’s ensure all Californians are counted so we can put those resources to good use here at home!

Money and Power

The 2020 Census will decide how billions of federal dollars are distributed in California. An undercount could impact funding for our schools, health services, child care, emergency services and many other programs.

The 2020 Census will decide the number of California’s Congressional members and Electoral College votes. A complete count means more people in power who truly represent and advocate for our communities.

Safe and Confidential

The 2020 Census is an opportunity for every Californian to shape our future. Your Census responses are safe and secure. Information collected as part of the 2020 Census cannot be shared with or by other governmental agencies or used against you in any way.

Invitations Mailed

March 12-20

Invitations to complete the 2020 census questionnaire online will be mailed.

Reminder Letters

March 16-24

Reminder letters will be mailed.

Reminder Postcard

March 26 - April 3

Reminder postcard will be mailed.

Census Day

April 1

Census Day!

Hard Copy Census Mailed

April 8-16

Another reminder and hard copy questionnaire will be mailed.

Final Postcards Mailed

April 20-27

Final postcards will be mailed before an in-person follow-up.

Don’t Delay! Be sure to fill out your census form before April 30th.

When Is The Census

How To Complete The Census

Every person in the country is required to fill out the 2020 Census form. Luckily, you have three ways to respond.

Video and printed guides will also be available in 59 non-English languages, and there will be a video in American Sign Language, plus a printed guide in braille.

Whichever you choose, just make sure you fill out the form!

By Mail - Icon

By Mail

The paper Census form will be available in English and Spanish languages and can be mailed back to the U.S. Census Bureau.

By Phone - Icon

By Phone

The Census can be completed by phone in 13 languages including Telecommunication Device for the Deaf.

By Computer - Icon


For the first time, the Census form will be available to complete online in 13 languages.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Some federal funds, grants, and support to states, counties and communities are based on population.
  • It is critical for everyone to be counted, regardless of immigration status. When you respond to the Census, you help your community get its fair share of federal funds.
  • Businesses use Census data to decide where to build factories, offices and stores, and this creates jobs.
  • Developers use Census data to build new homes and revitalize neighborhoods.
  • Local governments use Census data for public safety and emergency preparedness.

  • Starting mid-March 2020, each household will receive a postcard in the mail informing them of the options for filling out the Census questionnaire. That includes online, by phone, or with a paper form.
  • Households that do not fill out the questionnaire during the self-response period will be contacted by the U.S. Census Bureau during Non-Response Follow-Up.
    • March 12-20: Households will receive an invitation to respond online to the 2020 Census. Some households will also receive paper questionnaires.
    • March 16-24: A reminder letter will be sent.
    • If you still have not responded:
      • March 26-April 3: A reminder postcard will be sent to households that have not responded.
      • April 8-16: A reminder letter and paper questionnaire will be sent.
      • April 20-27: A final reminder postcard before the U.S. Census Bureau follows up in person.
    • U.S. Census Bureau enumerators may contact households that submit partially filled-out questionnaires in an effort to obtain complete answers.

  • 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.

  • The United States Census Bureau (USCB) is required by law to protect any personal information it collects and keep it confidential.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau is bound by Title 13 of the United States Code. These laws not only provide the Bureau with authority for its work, but also stipulate strong protections for the information the Census collects from individuals and businesses.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau uses responses to produce statistics.
  • Private information may not be published when it is collected. After 72 years, it may be published for historical purposes by the National Archives. It is against the law to disclose or publish any private information that identifies an individual or business, such as names, addresses (including GPS coordinates), Social Security numbers, and telephone numbers.
  • Answers cannot be used for law enforcement purposes or to determine personal eligibility for government benefits.
  • Personal information cannot be used against respondents for the purposes of immigration enforcement.
  • U.S. Census Bureau employees are sworn to protect confidentiality. Every person with access to data is sworn for life to protect personal information and understands that the penalties for violating this law are applicable for a lifetime.
  • Violating confidentiality or sharing the information other than for statistical purposes is a serious federal crime. Anyone who violates this law will face severe penalties, including a federal prison sentence of up to five years, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.

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. For those who have concerns about opening your doors, there are other ways you can participate. You can participate from the comfort of your home online and over the phone, or at community run assistance center. Please complete your Census questionnaire. An incomplete questionnaire may increase your chances of nonresponse follow-up by the U.S. Census Bureau. Households will receive an invitation to respond online to the 2020 Census beginning March 12, 2020. Your participation is vital, and your information is protected.

The Executive Order does not create any information sharing beyond what is permissible under existing law. Your information remains confidential. The Executive Order states that information collected from federal and state sources “may not, and shall not, be used to bring immigration enforcement actions against particular individuals.”

  • California’s Census Office is supporting a robust, coordinated outreach and communication effort focused on reaching the hard-to-count (HTC) population.
  • The Census Office is collaborating with counties, local governments, tribal governments, regional and statewide community-based organizations, education, and other sectors to ensure the hardest-to-count Californians are reached.
  • Communication efforts will aim to help Californians understand that their information will remain private and dispel misinformation.


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