WHAT IS “THE CENSUS?”
Every ten years, a division of the federal government called the United States Census Bureau attempts to count every living person in the United States of America. This count is called the Census.
WHY DOES THE UNITED STATES CENSUS EXIST?
Our nation’s founders conducted the first Census in 1790. Their goal was to make sure each state was being taxed fairly and had the right number of Congressmen and Congresswomen based on its population. The founders thought that this count to ensure fair representation was so important that they wrote it into the Constitution
HOW DO I PARTICIPATE IN THE 2020 CENSUS?
In March 2020, you will receive mail from the Census Bureau. This will be hard-copy, paper mail delivered to the mailbox at your house. The envelope will include a website address and a personal code number. Download a fact sheet from the United States Census Bureau!This code number is very important. It is unique to you. Do not give it to anyone outside of your household and try not to lose it.
You will use this code number to log onto the Census website and complete the Census form online. You can go to the Census website and fill out the form on any device that can access the internet: personal computer, smartphone, tablet, etc. Every household will have the option of responding online, by mail, or by phone.
The mail from the Census Bureau may also include a paper Census form. If you do not have access to the internet, you can fill in the paper form and mail it back to the Census Bureau.
You must complete your Census form by April 1, 2020.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T RESPOND BY APRIL 1, 2020?
You will receive reminders in the mail if you don’t submit your Census form online or mail it to the Census Bureau. If you still have not completed and submitted your form after several weeks a Census Bureau worker will come to your home and ask you the questions in person.
I DON’T WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE CENSUS, DO I HAVE TO?
Yes! It is against the law
to refuse to complete part or all of the Census form. It is also against the law to knowingly give false answers on your Census form.
WHAT DOES THE GOVERNMENT DO WITH THE INFORMATION THEY COLLECT IN THE CENSUS?
By law, the government can use the information collected in the census to decide how many Congressmen and Congresswomen each state gets and to decide which areas participate in certain federal programs. They can also review and analyze the numbers and statistics for informational purposes.
The federal government also uses the information collected in the Census to decide how to allocate over $800 billion to family and community programs. The Top 10 Census-Guided Federal Programs are:
• Supplemental Nutritional Assistance (SNAP)
• Highway Planning and Construction
• Section 8 Housing
• Title 1 Grants to Local Education Agencies
• National School Lunch Program
• Special Education Grants
• State Children’s Health Insurance (CHIP)
• Head Start / Early Head Start
I AM NOT A CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES. SHOULD I PARTICIPATE IN THE CENSUS?
Yes! You need to be counted regardless of your citizenship status to make sure that you and your city get the proper resources.
I AM INVOLVED IN UNLAWFUL OR UNETHICAL ACTIVITIES. SHOULD I PARTICIPATE IN THE CENSUS?
Yes! You may feel uncomfortable answering questions about your residence and rent payments, citizenship status, work status, or anything else. You should answer the questions honestly regardless of legal or ethical status.
The United States Census Bureau cannot arrest or prosecute you based on the answers on your Census form. Even if a Census worker comes to your home and asks you questions in person, they cannot make any judgments or legal assessments of your answers—they can only write the answers down on the form. Employees of the US Census Bureau are prohibited from sharing any individual’s information with anyone, even other government agencies. The fine for divulging private information is $250,000 and 5 years in jail.