The census helps our country provide fair education to all of our students. It is used to:
determine where Title 1 grants go, which helps schools in serving students from
assign Special Education grants to states
fund the National School Lunch programs
provide grants to improve teacher quality and preschool programs
determine how to best meet the needs of students in a community
Used to inform our communities
Residents use it in supporting community initiatives. Businesses also use it in creating places for jobs, and real estate agencies make new neighborhoods and revitalize old ones from the data.
It aids in enforcing civil and voting rights legislation.
It is used by local governments for safety and emergency preparations.
It determines how government monies are spent supporting state, county, and community efforts.
The census is key in redistributing the House of Representatives, which determines how many seats a state gets.
It is used to redraw boundaries of congressional and state legislative districts.
How it works
Your information is legally protected
The Census Bureau is bound by Title 13 of the United States Code, which provides protection to the citizens of the United States. The Census:
must be confidential and used only for statistical purposes
cannot be used to share information that identifies people, homes, or businesses for 72 years (including names, addresses, social security numbers, or phone numbers)
will not be able to be used against anyone in court or by a government agency, including immigration and law enforcement, the IRS, FBI, CIA, or any government body
requires census bureau staff to take a legally-binding oath for life to protect the personal information of the public
Participating in the Census
You can submit your responses to the census in several ways, such as:
through a secure internet response form on your phone or computer (see 2020census.gov)
through a phone call to 844-330-2020 (English) or 844-468-2020 (Spanish)*
or by an in-person interview, which will be conducted by a numerator who visits your home
*Note: There are 13 other phone numbers for different languages. To see the list of numbers or languages, visit the Census Bureau's Responding by phone page.
The process to complete a census happens over an extended period of time. Learn more about the census timeline* and key steps along the way on the Census Bureau's Important Dates page.
*Note: The census response deadline has been extended to August 14, 2020. Read more about the new timeline on the Census Bureau's COVID-19 Operational adjustment page.
The Census has a rich history in our country. The writers of the U.S. Constitution ordered in Article 1, Section 2 that a census of the population must occur every 10 years. They wanted the population to be what determined political power, not wealth and land ownership. The first census was held in 1790 and is considered a civic duty of being in a democracy. The Census Bureau is the government power that now runs the population census.