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 2020 Census is happening now! You have three ways to complete the Census: online, by phone and by mail. The Census will secure resources that will benefit our communities for the next ten years.

Take the Census

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.

Take the Census Today!

Learn more about the operational adjustments here.

It’s Quick and Easy.

Taking just a few minutes to answer the 9 simple, confidential questions helps determine dollars that fund important programs for the next 10 years.

The Census is safe and secure.

The 2020 Census data is safe, protected and confidential.

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 Computer - Icon

Online

For the first time, the Census form is available to complete online.

Take the Census

By Phone - Icon

By Phone

You can complete the 2020 Census by phone in 13 languages, including American Sign Language.

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By Mail

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

2020 Census FAQs

California is committed to a complete and accurate count that is inclusive of everyone, regardless of immigration or citizenship status. California has invested more resources than any other state to ensure our outreach and education efforts are robust and effective. California is committed to working with partners to monitor federal efforts, dispel fear and misinformation, and ensure all Californians understand their protections under Title 13.

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.

Everyone must respond to the Census. Regardless of immigration or citizenship status, all Californians have certain basic rights, and the U.S. Constitution mandates a complete count of all persons residing in the United States. It is crucial that all Californians are counted to ensure a fair distribution of resources.

When filling out the Census for your household, you should count everyone who is living in your home on April 1, 2020. Everyone is counted at the location they are either living at or spend most of their time on April 1, 2020.

It is important to remember to count any children who are living with you. This includes:

  • All children who live in your home, including foster children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and the children of friends (even if they are living with you temporarily).
  • Children who split their time between homes, if they are living with you on April 1, 2020.
  • Newborn babies, even those who are born on April 1, 2020, or who are still in the hospital on this date.

The 2020 Census will ask:

  • How many people are living at your home on April 1, 2020: This will help the U.S. Census Bureau count the entire U.S. population and ensure that people are counted according to where they live on Census Day. The U.S. Census Bureau will ask the name of each person in the household.
  • Whether the home is owned or rented: This will help the U.S. Census Bureau produce statistics about homeownership and renting. The rates of homeownership serve as one indicator of the nation’s economy and help in administering housing programs and informing planning decisions.
  • About the sex of each person in your home: This allows the U.S. Census Bureau to create statistics, which can be used in planning and funding government programs. This information can also be used to enforce laws, regulations, and policies against discrimination.
  • About the age of each person in your home: The U.S. Census Bureau creates statistics to better understand the size and characteristics of different age groups. This information helps to plan and fund government programs that support specific age groups, including children, youth and older adults.
  • About the race of each person in your home: This allows the U.S. Census Bureau to create statistics about race and racial groups. This data helps federal agencies monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions, such as those in the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.
  • About whether a person in your home is of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin: These responses help create statistics about this ethnic group. This is needed by federal agencies to monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions, such as those in the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.
  • About the relationship of each person in your home: This allows the Census Bureau to create estimates about families, households, and other groups. Relationship data is used in planning and funding government programs that support families, including people raising children alone.

NOTE: The citizenship question is NOT included on the Census form.

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.
  • The 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.

 

Avoiding Scams Online

Phishing is a criminal act in which someone tries to get your information by pretending to be an entity you trust. Phishing emails often direct you to a website that looks real but is fake and may be infected with malware.

Please note that the Census Bureau will never send unsolicited emails to request your participation in the 2020 Census. Further, the Census Bureau will never ask for the following information during the 2020 Census:

  • Your Social Security Number
  • Financial information, such as your bank account or credit card numbers
  • Money or donations

Additionally, the Census Bureau will not contact you on behalf of a political party.

Staying Safe at Home

If someone visits your home to collect a response for the 2020 Census, you can do the following to verify their identity:

  • Check to make sure that they have a valid ID badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date.
  • If you still have questions about their identity, you can call 800-923-8282to speak with a local Census Bureau representative.
  • You can search the Census Bureau Staff Directory to find the contact information for employees to verify their identity – https://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/main/email.cgi

Reporting Suspected Fraud

If you suspect fraud, call the U.S. Census Bureau California Regional Office at 213-314-6500 or toll–free at 800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative. If it is determined that the visitor who came to your door does not work for the Census Bureau, contact your local police department.

U.S. Census Bureau field staff will always show a valid Census Bureau ID, which includes their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. The U.S. Census Bureau will never ask for the following:

  • Payment to fill out the questionnaire
  • Social Security number
  • Financial information, such as bank account or credit card numbers

You can confirm 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 at 213-314-6500 or toll–free at 800-923-8282. In addition, you can search the Census Bureau Staff Directory to find the contact information for employees to verify their identity – https://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/main/email.cgi

It is a federal crime to impersonate a federal official, and anyone who violates this law is subject to imprisonment.

  • 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.

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.”

Questions?

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