FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
FINAL DECISION ON CENSUS CITIZENSHIP QUESTION
On June 27, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States barred the Trump administration from adding the citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The Court ruled that the explanation offered by the current administration for adding the citizenship question was inadequate. The case was sent back to the lower court.
The Trump Administration has stated that they will not include the citizenship question in the 2020 Census. This represents an incredible victory for democracy and for our communities!
WHAT IS THE U.S. CENSUS?
The Census is a complete population count of every individual living in the United States. The Census takes place once every 10 years. The U.S. Constitution mandates this population count. Data collected during the Census determines how the federal government designates over $800 billion to local communities and also establishes how many seats each state receives in the U.S. House of Representatives.
WHO SHOULD BE COUNTED IN THE CENSUS?
Every person living in the United States (citizens and non-citizens).
WHY IS THE CENSUS IMPORTANT?
The Census determines how the federal government designates over $800 billion each year. Accurate Census data is key when designating these funds to states and localities. These federal funds go to programs that directly benefit communities in the areas of education, healthcare, transportation, housing, and others, including programs such as:
• Medicare and Medicaid
• State Children’s Health Insurance (CHIP)
• Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program (SNAP)
• Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefits program
• Head Start/Early Head Start Programs
• Special education grants
• Grants to local education agencies
• School breakfast/lunch programs
• Section 8 Housing
• Highway planning and construction
The Census also determines our political representation in Congress. Census data is used to determine how many seats each state will receive in the U.S. House of Representatives based on population changes (reapportionment process). The House of Representatives is a part of the U.S. Congress, and works to pass federal laws.
IS INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THE CENSUS PROTECTED?
Yes! By law, the Census Bureau is required to keep all Census information confidential. The confidentiality provision of the Census Act, or Title 13 of the U.S. Code, safeguards the privacy of all Census information and prohibits the use of it for any purpose other than producing statistical data. No personal or private information collected on the Census can be shared with any federal, state or local agency, entity or court of law. Title 13 prohibits any government agency from utilizing Census Bureau data against any individual/household. Violating this law is a federal crime. Anyone who violates Title 13 will face severe penalties, including a federal prison sentence of up to five years, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.
WHY SHOULD I PARTICIPATE IN THE CENSUS?
Participating in the Census will ensure that our communities receive their fair share of resources. If there is an undercount in the 2020 Census, services like healthcare accessibility and quality of such programs. Resources determined by the Census are essential to the health, wellbeing, and advancement of our communities, particularly immigrant communities of color. We must participate, stand together, and make ourselves heard!
HOW WILL THE CENSUS BE ADMINISTERED IN 2020?
Online: The Census will be administered mainly via the internet. Individuals will be able to fill out the Census questionnaire online on the Census Bureau’ website via the Internet self-response Instrument (available in 13 languages).
Phone: Individuals can call the Census Bureau’s telephone hotline, where there will be operators in 13 languages (including English) providing assistance in completing the questionnaire.
Mail: Individuals who receive a paper form (available in English and Spanish) at their home address can fill out the form and mail it back to the Census Bureau.
In-Person Enumerator: The Census Bureau will aim to hire 500,000 Census enumerators/takers nationwide. Census takers will conduct the “non-response” follow-up portion of the Census. If an individual household has not completed the census by mail, online, or by phone, a Census enumerator could visit that household and provide assistance in completing the census questionnaire.
WHAT QUESTIONS WILL BE ASKED ON THE CENSUS?
The Census questionnaire will ask for your name, age, date of birth, race, Hispanic origin, sex, whether you own or rent your residence, number of people and children living in your household, and telephone number. The Census questionnaire will NOT ask you for your government identification number.
HOW CAN I VERIFY THAT THE MAILING I RECEIVE IS FROM THE CENSUS BUREAU?
Some ways to determine if the correspondence you receive is legitimately from the Census Bureau are:
• It has the U.S. Department of Commerce in the return address (The Dept. of Commerce is the Census Bureau’s parent agency)
• The return address is set in Jefferson, Indiana. Most Census/survey materials are mailed from The National Processing Center at 1201 East 10th St, Jefferson, IN.
• You may receive a reminder letter from the Census Bureau’s headquarters in Washington DC or from one of the Regional Offices (Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York or Philadelphia).
• Correspondence from the Census Bureau will never ask for your Social Security Number or Identification Number.