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    February 24, 2020

    10 quick answers to 10 quick questions about the census

    2020 City of Bryan Census logo
    The 2020 Census is right around the corner, and every household should be receiving their census forms around the middle of March. But, while we wait, we know you have questions about how the process will work. Here are a few answers to the most common questions about the census.

    1. Why do we do a census?

    2020 United States Census logo The U.S. Constitution mandates that everyone in the country be counted every 10 years, since the very first census in 1790. The census acts as the official population count of everyone in the United States. Data from the census provide the basis for distributing more than $675 billion in federal funds annually to communities across the country – like Bryan – for vital programs that support housing, education transportation, employment health care and public policy.

    2. Who is required to respond?

    Everyone. All men, women and children – regardless of age or citizenship status – who are living in the United States are required by law to be counted in the 2020 Census.

    3. When will I complete the census?

    You will begin to receive a notice in the mail to complete the census in March 2020. Once you receive it, you can respond. Beginning in May 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau will begin following up in person with households who have not yet responded.

    4. How do I respond to the census?

    You will be able to choose how you respond from three options:

    • Online
    • By phone
    • By mail

    No matter which way you choose to respond, it should take less time than it does to finish your morning coffee.

    College students

    For most college or university students, it may be confusing as to where they would be counted. Would they be counted at their parent’s home since they pay the bills or because their parent’s claim them as dependents?

    The answer is no. They should be counted where they live most of the time.

    2020 Census Instruction guides in english and en español

    How to respond to the paper questionnaire

    There are instruction guides in more than 60 languages from the United States Census Bureau, and instruction guides can be obtained in braille or large print as well.

    5. What information will be requested?

    This year’s decennial census will ask the following information:

    • How many people are living in your home on April 1, 2020
    • What type of home you live in
    • Your telephone number
    • Each person’s name, gender, date of birth and race.
    • The relationship between each person living in your home
    The following information will NOT be asked on the census:

    • Social Security numbers
    • Bank or credit card account numbers
    • Political affiliation
    • Citizenship status

    6. Are there privacy protections in place?

    Yes. Strict federal laws protect your census responses. It is against the law for any Census Bureau employee to disclose or publish any census information that is personally identifying. Census workers take a lifelong pledge of confidentiality to handle data responsibly and keep respondents’ information private.

    Law enforcement agencies (local police, DHS, ICE, FBI or CIA) cannot access personal census data.

    map graphic showing how 95 percent of the nation's households will get their census invitation in the mail.

    7. How is census data used?

    Census data is used to make decisions about a wide variety of federal funds and representation in legislative bodies. After each decennial census, state officials redraw the boundaries of congressional and state legislative districts to account for population shifts. More than $675 billion in federal funds, grants and support to state counties and cities are distributed based on census data. And, local businesses use census data to determine where to locate offices, stores and new homes.

    8. How do I determine where I or my children live?

    The best way to determine who to count on your household’s census is to decide where each person is living on April 1, 2020. For example, if you have joint custody of your children, they should be counted where they live most. College students should be counted where they reside most of the time (likely their residence in Bryan, not their parents’ home).

    9. How do I identify a census representative?

    It is possible that you may receive a phone call or an in-person visit from a Census worker. Here are some ways you can verify a person is an official Census Bureau employee:

    • The person will present an ID badge that includes their name, photograph, a Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date.
    • They will have an official bag and Census Bureau-issued electronic device with the Census logo.
    • Census takers will work between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.

    Remember, Census representatives will NEVER ask for your Social Security number, banking information or any form of payment.

    10. Where can I go for more information?

    There is more information about the 2020 Census at the following websites:

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    Posted in: Articles, Census