The census is a constitutionally required nationwide survey to count the population of the United States. It's conducted every 10 years by the U.S. Census Bureau. The data collected:
- Determines the number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and influence in the Electoral College.
- Informs redistricting, defining congressional and state legislative districts.
- Directs more than $675 billion in federal funding to states and cities.
Much of the funding that comes from the census helps the most vulnerable among us. It provides health care, education, food and nutrition programs, housing and childcare for families. We need an equitable and complete count since the census has a big impact on the services that Hillsborough and its neighborhoods receive. Every person not counted is a loss in our community of more than $1,800 annually in state and federal funding.
North Carolina also is projected to gain one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives; we need a complete count for fair representation.
2020 census timeline
Invitations will be mailed to respond online or by phone to the 2020 census.
A reminder letter will be mailed.
Census Day! If you haven't already, use this day to submit your census questionnaire online or by postal mail.
March 26-April 3
A reminder postcard will be mailed.
A reminder letter and paper questionnaire will be mailed.
A final reminder postcard will be mailed before the U.S. Census Bureau follows up in person.
Census enumerators will visit households that did not complete a census questionnaire to collect information at the door.
The survey will be offered in 13 languages online and by phone, including English, Spanish, Chinese (simplified), Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese and Japanese. The paper census surveys will only be available in English and Spanish.
Questions about the census
Who gets counted?
The census counts everyone who lives in the United States, regardless of their immigration or citizenship status. If you live here, you get counted.
Why do we have a census?
The framers of the U.S. Constitution chose population to be the basis for sharing political power ― not wealth or land.
From Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution: "Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this union, according to their respective numbers …"
A census aims to count the entire population of a country at the location where each person usually lives. The goal is to count everyone only once,and in the right place.
How can I complete the census?
You can complete the census online, by telephone, or by mail. This is the first year the census will be available online. You can fill out your survey using any internet-enabled device, such as cellphone, computer, or tablet.
Why should I take the census?
Participating in the 2020 census is a way to make your voice matter! By filling out the census survey you are letting the U.S. government know how many people are living in your community. The government uses this figure to determine how much federal money to give each state and how many representatives can go to Congress. By making yourself count, you are helping improve your community by ensuring your town and state have the appropriate number of representatives and money to provide resources and services for you and your neighbors. The census is free, confidential and safe.
Questions the census asks
What questions am I going to be asked?
The census survey will ask the name, sex, age, date of birth, race/ethnicity and relationship of everyone in your household. It will also ask if you rent or own your home. For more information on what you will be asked on the census, see the Census 2020 website. You can also see a sample questionnaire.
Will the census ask for my citizenship status?
No, the 2020 census will not ask a question about citizenship. The federal government has now been permanently prevented from asking the citizenship question as part of the 2020 census in any form.
Whom should I count in my census response?
You should count anyone who is living and sleeping in your home most of the time. This includes related family members and unrelated people, such as foster children, friends, tenants or live-in employees. For more information, see the Census 2020 website
Do I include children in my census response?
Yes! It is important to count any children living in your housing unit most of the time. This includes children who split their time between households, newborn babies and other children who may live with you like grandchildren, the children of friends, or nieces and nephews.
Questions about getting counted
How do I complete the census?
You can fill out the survey online, by telephone, or by mail. Households can answer the questions on the Internet or by phone in English and 12 other languages.
When should I look for my census invitation in the mail?
Starting in March 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau will mail postcards to every household in the United States. You should receive your postcard by April 1, 2020. The invitation will include verification information to complete the census online or by phone.
When can I go online and fill out the census survey?
Once you receive your census invitation, you can go online to complete the census. You will receive the postcard by April 1, 2020.
Is there a phone number I can call for help filling out my census?
Yes. You can call the U.S. Census Bureau Call Center: 301-763-INFO (4636) or 800-923-8282.
What happens if I don’t respond to the census on time?
If you do not respond to the census by the end of April 2020, you will be mailed a printed questionnaire to return by mail. In May 2020, Census Bureau employees will visit households that have not completed the census to assist you in filling out the census in person.
Will a census worker come to my residence?
If your household does not submit a completed census survey by the end of April 2020, a Census Bureau employee will visit your residence to assist you in filling out the census in person. This person will ask you the same questions that will appear in the online version of the census. For more information on Census Bureau employees, see the Census 2020 website.
What about college students?
Students living away from home should be counted at their on-campus or off-campus college addresses, even if the COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily sent them to stay with their parents or elsewhere.
Questions about safety and privacy
Is the census confidential?
Yes. Responses to the census are confidential. Census information is used for statistical purposes only.
Can another government agency access my census information?
No. Your responses cannot be used against you by any government agency, including law enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security, or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Can my census responses affect my eligibility for government benefits?
No. Your responses to the census are confidential and will not affect your eligibility for any government benefits.
Can U.S. Census Bureau workers share my information?
No. It is illegal for the Census Bureau to share your information. Your information is confidential. U.S. Census Bureau workers who have access to your personal information are sworn for life to protect confidentiality and are subject to a $250,000 fine and/or up to five years in federal prison for the wrongful disclosure of information.
Do I need a Social Security number to complete the census?
No. The census will never ask for a Social Security number.
Is it safe to submit my personal information to the U.S. Census Bureau online?
Yes. All responses submitted online are encrypted to protect your personal privacy. To learn more about the Census Bureau’s data protection and privacy program, see the Census 2020 website.
U.S. Census Bureau jobs
The U.S. Census Bureau is seeking to hire census takers, recruiting assistants, office staff, and supervisory staff. To be eligible, you must be 18 years old, have a valid Social Security number, and be a U. S. citizen. Interested residents are encouraged to apply through the Census 2020 website.
Help share information
The Orange County Complete Count Committee is recruiting volunteers to serve as census captains to share key messages about the 2020 census within their neighborhoods on social media, community email groups, electronic newsletters, blogs, and other means. If you're interested, visit the county's Census Captains page to complete a volunteer form. Volunteers will receive information via email to share.
We'll share materials here that we use to help provide information on the census. Please share!