The count is mandated by the Constitution and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency. The 2020 Census counts the population in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories:
The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands
Each home will receive an invitation to respond to a short questionnaire-online, by phone, or by mail.
The Impact of the Census
The results are critically important because this once-a-decade census data helps businesses, researchers, and communities make decisions. The data can help inform where your community needs a new fire department, more funding for school lunches, or new roads.
The census also collects data that is valuable for businesses, which rely on census results to help make decisions such as where to open new stores, where to expand operations, and which products and services to offer.
Participating in the census is required by law, even if you recently completed another survey from the Census Bureau. A complete and accurate count is critical for you and your community, because the results of the 2020 Census will affect community funding, congressional representation, and more.
Census Workers in the Community
Census takers play a critical role in the 2020 Census. In May, they will begin visiting homes that haven’t responded to the census to help ensure everyone is counted. These census takers are there to help, and they are legally bound to protect your information. But that’s not the only role they play. You might see census workers in your neighborhood this spring and summer for a few different reasons:
They are dropping off census materials
They are conducting quality checks related to the census
They are collecting responses for other ongoing Census Bureau surveys, such as the American Community Survey. (Please note: If you’re invited to participate in one of these other surveys, you’re still required to answer the 2020 Census.)
In 2019, census workers helped lay the groundwork for the 2020 Census by verifying addresses in neighborhoods across the country. These workers are called address canvassers, and they help ensure a complete and accurate count by noting where houses, apartments, shelters, and other residences are located.