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Census 2020 Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated 1/16/2020
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The U.S. Census Bureau has posted videos featuring public service announcements that can answer many questions about the Census. U.S. Census Bureau YouTube Channel

This video from the Census Bureau shows how to complete the online Census form.

The actual website address for the online Census form will be preovided in your Census invitation letter and packet.
Using the Online Census Form

The Census Bureau has published a set of 59 language guides providing instructions for completing the Census paper form. Access the Census Language Guides hare.

Census 2020 Frequently Asked Questions

A: The Census is a head count of everyone residing in the United States on April 1, 2020. It has been mandated by the U.S. Constitution (Article 1, Section 2) since 1790 and it occurs every 10 years. The Census counts people of all ages, race, and ethnic groups. Population totals from the decennial Census determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives; the totals are also used to redraw federal and state legislative districts. The Census population counts are used to determine the allocation of federal dollars to states, cities and counties, and to help citizens and policy makers understand demographic, economic, and geographic trends needed to inform critical business decisions.

A: Census Day is April 1, 2020 but the online tool will start accepting responses in mid-March. Some other programs will be starting in March as well.

A: In 2020 you can respond to the census online (using a computer or a smart phone), over the telephone, or by submitting a paper form. In March 2020, approximately 82% of housing units will receive an invitation letter to complete the Census; 8% will receive a packet containing the invitation letter and a paper form; the remaining 10% of housing units will have the invitation letter hand delivered by a Census Enumerator. You can see how your area will be invited to complete by using the Census Contact Strategies map. The 2020 Census provides people with a URL so they can complete the census online, a toll-free telephone number if they want to call in their responses, and an address to request a paper form.

A: The Census form asks 10 questions about each person in a household:

  1. Name
  2. Phone Number
  3. Age and Birth Date
  4. Sex
  5. Hispanic Origin
  6. Race
  7. Relationship to Householder
  8. Household Tenure/Ownership
  9. Number of Persons in Household
  10. Additional Residence Location

The Census Bureau estimates that it will take ten minutes per person in a household to complete the Census form.

A: In 2020 the Census form will be available online or on a paper form.

You can see the paper form here.

You can see a video demonstrating the online form here.

A: No. A citizenship question was proposed for the 2020 Census form, but the U.S. Supreme Court rejected it on June 26, 2019. On July 12, 2019 the Trump Administration decided to remove the citizenship question from the 2020 Census form. The 2020 Census form will not include any questions asking about the citizenship status of household members.

A: The initial mailings for the 2020 Census will begin in March, 2020. However, the Census Bureua conducts multiple surveys every year. To confirm the authenticity of a Census mailing, please check the links below:

A: In most cases, no. The Census Bureau will send out multiple notices encouraging people to submit their Census form online, via telephone, or through the mail. Some Census Bureau mailings will include the Census form. Census workers will only visit those addresses that did not respond to a previous mailing.

A: All Census workers carry official government badges marked with their name. You can ask them for a picture ID from another source to confirm their identity. If you are still not certain about an enumerator’s identity, you can call the Denver Regional Census Center at *1-800-852-6159* (toll-free) to confirm that an individual is employed by the Census Bureau.

A: All residents living at an address as of April 1, 2020 should be counted. This includes family members, all children born on or before April 1, 2020, grandparents, and other, non-related persons living at an address.

A: College students living in a dormitory on April 1, 2020 will be counted at their dormitory. People living in prisons, people living in shelters, people in the military, or people living in other group quarters will be counted where they live. College students living in off campus housing should be counted at the off campus housing if that is where they living most of the time. You can find fact sheets describing census residence criteria on the Census 2020 Fact Sheets page.

A: Yes. The online version of the Census form will be available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Japanese. The Census Bureau will provide video and print language guides, language glossaries, and language identification cards in a total of 59 non-English languages. Access the Language Guides hare.
See the Census Bureau's "2020 Census Non-English Language Support" memo here.

A: The census invitation card will contain a census ID number linked to the address of your housing unit. The Census form will ask you to enter the census ID number or your address. You can enter either to verify your location and ensure that no one else has completed your Census form.

A: Yes. Federal law prohibits the Census Bureau from using the information it collects for anything but statistical purposes. The Census Bureau releases aggregated data, i.e., information about the people living in a defined area, not individual person level data. The privacy of your responses is guaranteed by law. The form does not ask for your Social Security number, bank account information or financial assets. Name and address are asked only to ensure that each person is counted once where they live.

A: No. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondent answers with the FBI, the CIA, ICE or even the Present of the United States.

A: A key principle for the 2020 Census is the Census Bureau’s obligation to protect the confidentiality of the public’s answers to the census. Helping a person who is not part of your household complete their Census form violates this promise of confidentiality. You can help your neighbors connect to the Census Bureau online page or help them call the census toll-free number listed on their census invitation letter or postcard. However, responses to the census should be kept confidential. See the "What Partners Should and Should Not Do" fact sheet on the Census 2020 Fact Sheets page.

A: The accuracy of the census depends on everyone providing accurate answers to all of the questions on the Census form. If you decide not to answer a question the Census Bureau may follow up with you as part of its quality control process. The Census Bureau's Nonresponse Follow Up program (NRFU) will send a census enumerator out to addresses that have not submitted a Census form, but there are no plans to contact all addresses that skip questions.

A: Working as a Census Enumerator will not impact your benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF). Wages from part-time employmwent by the Census Bureau are considered "short-term" employment. Colorado has received waivers from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of health and Human Services (HHS) that exempt Census wages from SNAP and TANF eligibility calculations.

A: Counts for reapportionment must be delivered to the President of the United States by December 31, 2020. Counts will be released to the states for redistricting purposes by April 1, 2021. More detailed counts will be released beginning in 2022.

A: Data collection and management of the census is a federal responsibility. The State of Colorado's role in the census is updating and verifying address information and promoting the census. In Fiscal Year 2020, the Colorado State Demography Office will have funds to provide promotional materials describing the census to communities and other organizations. Please contact us here. if you have any questions about these materials.

A: If you have additional questions, please call the Regional Census Center at 1-800-852-6159 (toll-free) or visit