What is the Census?
According to the United States Census Bureau, the Census counts every resident in the United States. Mandated by the Constitution, the Census takes place every 10 years. The data collected by the Census determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and is used to distribute billions in federal funds to local communities (U.S. Census Bureau).
“The Census asks questions of people in homes and group living situations, including how many people live or stay in each home, and the sex, age and race of each person. The goal is to count everyone once, only once, and in the right place.” – U.S. Census Bureau
Why should I complete the Census?
Federal funds, grants and state support are based on population totals collected by the census. The federal money is spent on schools, infrastructure, hospitals, and many other programs. Businesses, developers, and local governments also use census data (U.S. Census Bureau).
Know the facts.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the Census Bureau will start mailing out (and, in some areas, hand delivering) invitations to participate in the 2020 Census in mid-March. You should receive your invitation by April 1. You can respond to the Census: online, by phone, or by mail (FTC).
The Census asks: how many people are in the home at the time you complete the form; their sex, age, race, ethnicity; their relationships to one another; phone number; and whether you own or rent the home (FTC).
You can see all the questions asked on the 2020 Census on the Census Bureau’s website.
Look out for scams!
Scammers may pose as census workers to steal your personal information, which can be used to commit identity theft.
If you are visited by a census worker in-person, they must show a photo-ID. If you would like, the census worker may also provide you with their supervisor’s official contact information and the phone number to a regional office (FTC).
The Census will never ask for: your Social Security number, bank account or credit card numbers, passwords, money or donations, or anything on behalf of a political party. Note: the 2020 Census will not ask citizenship status (FTC).
The Census Bureau may call you to follow up, or they might call if a census worker visited your home while you were away. To verify the call, use the Census Bureau website (FTC).
Still have questions about the Census?
Visit the Census Bureau’s Frequently Asked Questions page, or call: (301) 763-INFO (4636) or (800) 923-8282.
As always, you can also call the Vermont Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program: (800) 649-2424.
To receive official email updates from the U.S. Census Bureau, visit their website.
Contributing Writer: Madison Braz
Content Editor: Crystal Baldwin