Information on the 2020 Census
The Census is a count of every person living in the United States and five U.S. territories. It is done every 10 years as mandated in the U.S. Constitution and is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency.
Participating in the census is required by law, and is especially important as the results will affect community funding, congressional representation, and more.
It’s about fair representation, about redistricting, and especially about funding. What exactly does this mean to you?
Every 10 years, the results of the census are used to determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives. They are also used to redraw congressional and state legislative districts to account for population shifts.
Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, schools, roads, fire departments, and other resources. The Census also provides critical data that many entities use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and your community. For example:
- Residents use the census to support community initiatives involving legislation, quality-of-life and consumer advocacy.
- Businesses use census data to decide where to build factories, offices and stores, which create jobs.
- Real estate developers use the census to build new homes and revitalize old neighborhoods.
- Local governments use the census for public safety and emergency preparedness.
Curious to know what programs are impacted by census data? Check out this report.
#YWomenCount is YWCAs national campaign to support the 2020 Census. YWCA is a trusted voice to some of the most vulnerable communities in the country. Through this campaign we will leverage this position of trust to make sure those communities are counted fairly and accurately in 2020.
Why is the Census important to YWCA?
A full, fair, and accurate census is crucial to securing the strength and vitality of our YWCAs and other nonprofit organizations that receive federal funding to provide domestic violence, child care, housing, nutrition, health, and other critical services in communities throughout the United States. Still further, women, girls, and families who may access federally-supported, life-saving services offered by YWCA are at risk of not being counted and missing out on the services they need.
Individuals and communities that the census disproportionately has trouble reaching and enumerating are called “hard-to-count.” Some communities are repeatedly undercounted by the U.S. census causing a recurring challenge for the Census Bureau, as well as all the entities that rely on an accurate count. Unfortunately, the communities who are undercounted by the U.S. census incur detrimental impacts such as disproportionately low federal funding, under-representation in federal, state, and local government, and insufficient civil right protections.
Marginalized communities have been disproportionately undercounted in the U.S. Decennial Census. According to the U.S. Census Bureau these “hard-to-count” groups include:
- Children under 5, especially young children of color.
- Highly mobile persons, including young people such as college students.
- Communities of color.
- Non-English speakers.
- Low income persons.
- Persons experiencing homelessness.
- Undocumented immigrants.
- Persons who distrust the government. This includes many immigrant communities who may have a particular distrust for the 2020 census because of the recent citizenship question controversy. (NOTE: There is NO citizenship question on the 2020 Census!)
- LGBTQ persons.
- Persons with mental or physical disabilities.
- Persons who do not live in traditional housing, including survivors of domestic violence living in shelter.
As in all of YWCA’s work, we center women, children, and families from these hard-to-count communities: communities of color, women and children of color, persons experiencing homelessness, immigrant communities and families, survivors of domestic violence, and other marginalized individuals and groups. Because of the invaluable services the YWCA provides, YWCA leaders serve and interact with these individuals and communities every day. YWCA is not only a trusted messenger in these communities, but is often a safe place to these individuals. Thus, YWCAs are unparalleled in their ability to ensure the participation of these communities in the 2020 census.
If you would like to know more about the #YWomenCount initiative, please visit ywomencount.org.
Beginning in March, nearly every household will receive an invitation via mail to participate in the 2020 Census. This letter will include instructions to visit the U.S. Census website and upon logging into the site, each household can fill out a simple 10-question form.
Before completing this form, you need to know where to count yourself and who to count with you in your home. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is likely there will be persons at home that would normally be residing in another location. A rule of thumb is that a person should be counted at the place where they would be/would have been living and sleeping most of the time as of April 1, 2020.
This is not the only circumstance that may happen. A more complete list of special circumstances and how those individuals may be counted can be found here.
It takes approximately 10 minutes to complete the form. If no response is received from a household, the Census Bureau will mail several reminders as well as a paper census form. An enumerator will only be sent to that address to collect information in person, if no completed census form is submitted. The best way to avoid having an enumerator visit your home is to complete the Census form as early as possible!
Online access may be the quickest way to complete the 2020 census, but it can also be completed over the phone in 13+ languages. The Census Bureau also offers web pages and guides in 59 non-English languages, including American Sign Language, as well as guides in Braille and large print. More information can be found here.
Last but not least, the 2020 Census can be completed by submitting a paper questionnaire. All homes will receive a paper questionnaire if they do not first respond online or by phone. Be sure to use blue or black ink to fill it out if you respond this way.
Regardless of which way you complete your 2020 Census, you can always review the questions that will be asked first!
Your privacy is protected. All responses to U.S. Census Bureau household and business surveys are kept completely confidential.
It is against the law for the Census Bureau to publicly release your responses in any way that could identify you or your household. By law, your responses cannot be used against you and can only be used to produce statistics.
It should also be noted that there is NO citizenship question on the 2020 Census.