Census Day: April 1, 2020
ISNS in partnership with CIOGC has formed a Complete Count Committee to bring awareness and education about upcoming Census.
The 2020 Census aims to get an accurate count of everyone living in the United States. It will begin asking questions of all residents this April. It only happens every 10 years, and this time it includes a major change — instead of door knockers, you’ll likely be answering census questions online.
What is the 2020 Census?
The 2020 Census is the decennial count of every resident living in the country, conducted by the United States Census Bureau (www.census.gov) and mandated by the Constitution.
What will happen?
In March, you’ll receive a census postcard in the mail, asking you and the members of your household to complete the census online. It will have a link to the online census survey.
Certain households will also receive the paper form to use if they would prefer. You can also respond to the census by phone, which is available in 12 different languages.
Mailings will be sent to homes and non-respondents in the weeks leading up to the census. Follow-ups will be conducted by census workers in early April. Paper questionnaires and letters will also be sent to those who have not yet responded.
If you don’t respond to one of these three methods, a census worker will come to your residence to collect your information, which will start around mid-May.
The census is online this year. In previous years, filling the census out online wasn’t an option. The U.S. Census Bureau is making the switch to make the process more efficient and cost-effective. It’s also to give people another opportunity to respond.
Residents aren’t required to fill out the census online—they can also provide their information over the phone or through a paper questionnaire. For areas with an older population or limited to no internet access, the U.S. Census Bureau will send them the same materials, along with a paper questionnaire in the first mailing.
What will the census ask?
There are nine questions per person in your household on the census. Questions will include: the number of people living in the residence on April 1, 2020; if the residence is owned or rented; and the gender, age, race, ethnic group and relationship of all people living in the residence.
What will the census not ask?
Whether or not you’re a citizen. President Donald Trump tried to add a citizenship question to the census last year, but the move was blocked by the Supreme Court.
Is my data safe and confidential?
Yes. Personal census data is private and protected, which is required by Title 13. And data collected through the census can’t be used against any person by any government agency, law enforcement organization, or court at any level, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Anyone working for the Census Bureau will have a badge and be able to prove their identity.
Why should I care?
Money. And representation.
The data collected through the 2020 Census will determine the amount of federal funds Illinois receives. The state currently receives about $22 billion in federal funds every year, for things like hospitals, health centers, housing, schools, federal student loans, infrastructure improvements, Medicaid, and much more. That figure can increase or decrease, depending on the new numbers collected.
Not only are federal funds decided through the census, but so is representation in Congress. Census data redistributes the House of Representatives, determining how many seats each state gets.
Currently, Illinois has 18 representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives. The state lost a representative from the 2010 census.