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2020 Census

On our way to 2020

Partners are critical to the success of a complete and accurate count in 2020. Do you know why the 2020 Census matters? Do you know how participating can help your community? Learn more here.

Census 101

What is a census and why is it important?

Once a decade, America comes together to count every resident in the United States, creating national awareness of the importance of the census and its valuable statistics. The decennial census was first taken in 1790, as mandated by the Constitution. It counts our population and households, providing the basis for reapportioning congressional seats, redistricting, and distributing more than $675 billion in federal funds annually to support states, counties and communities’ vital programs — impacting housing, education, transportation, employment, health care and public policy.

How the Census Benefits Your Community

Federal funds, grants and support to states, counties and communities are based on population totals and breakdowns by sex, age, race and other factors. Your community benefits the most when the census counts everyone. People in your community use census data in all kinds of ways, such as these:

Residents use the census to support community initiatives involving legislation, quality-of-life and consumer advocacy.

Local government officials use the census to ensure public safety and plan new schools and hospitals.

Businesses use Census Bureau data to decide where to build factories, offices and stores, and these create jobs.

Real estate developers and city planners use the census to plan new homes and improve neighborhoods.

The next census is coming in 2020. Counting an increasingly diverse and growing population is a massive undertaking. It requires years of planning and the support of thousands of people. Ultimately, the success of the census depends on everyone’s participation. The Census Bureau depends on cross-sector collaborations with organizations and individuals to get people to participate. The 2020 Census is important for you and your community, and you can help. Learn more about the 2020 Census.

What should I know about the 2020 Census?

Am I required to fill out the Census?

Yes, you are legally obligated to answer all the questions, as accurately as you can. The relevant laws are Title 18 U.S.C Section 3571 and Section 3559, which amends Title 13 U.S.C. Section 221.

Why should I fill out the Census?

Your answers are important! The American Community Survey is sent to a small percentage of our population on a rotating basis and provides the only official population count for the United States. As part of a sample, you represent many other people. Using information gathered by the Census, the Federal Government allocates approximately $675 billion in the form of grants and other support to states, counties, and communities. Responding to the census helps not only the City of Rehoboth Beach but also the entire State of Delaware. Furthermore, the results of the census are used to reapportion the House of Representatives, determining how many seats the State of Delaware gets. Your participation provides many benefits! To learn more about why you should participate, please click here.

When will I receive information on the Census?

By April 1, 2020, households will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. April 1, 2020, provides the official reference day for the decennial census, meaning that households are asked to answer the questions as of April 1. For example, when considering the number of people in your household, answer based on how many people are living in your household as of April 1, 2020, do not include a child unless born on or before April 1.

What are the ways I can fill out the Census?

Responses to the survey are collected in four different ways: internet, mail, telephone, and in-person interviews. This year, however, many households won’t be getting in-person visits or paper forms at all. Instead, To learn more about the different response options available to you and how you can respond to the survey today, please click here.

How do I fill out the Census online?

Gather the materials that were mailed to you, including the address label. Then go to Input the information from the address label. If you don’t have your materials, you can call 1-800-354-7271 to get your User ID. The system will automatically generate a PIN. Please remember your PIN.  The PIN will allow you to log back into the survey if the session times out or if you need to come back later. The session will time out if left idle for more than 15 minutes. If you provided an answer to one of the security questions during your initial login, you could reset your PIN if lost or forgotten. Enter your User ID at, and select the "Click here if you do not know your PIN" link.

When is the Census due?

By April 2020, everyone should have received the Census and information regarding how to fill it out - it is usually due two weeks after receipt. However, your survey will tell you more precisely how much time you have to respond.

What will be done with my information?

The Census Bureau is legally bound to strict confidentiality requirements, and we never reveal your identity to anybody else. When you respond to the American Community Survey, your individual records are not shared with anyone, including federal agencies and law enforcement entities. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents' answers with anyone, -- not the IRS, not the FBI, not the CIA, and not with any other government agency. All Census Bureau employees take an oath of nondisclosure and are sworn for life to protect all information that could identify individuals. Any employee who violates the provisions of the oath is subject to a fine up to $250,000 or a prison sentence up to 5 years, or both.

To protect your privacy, the American Community Survey NEVER asks for:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Your mother’s maiden name
  • Your personal information through email
  • Money or donations
  • Credit card or bank account information

If a field representative comes to your home to help you complete the American Community Survey, he or she will ALWAYS have an official Census ID. Learn more about how to identify a field representative. We never reveal your identity to anybody else. When we process the information collected on the American Community Survey (ACS), individuals' names and other personal identifiers are deleted from the files used to tabulate these data. We do not maintain a national database with the names, addresses, and personal information collected by the ACS. Additionally, we employ statistical methodologies to ensure that the statistics we release do not identify individuals or businesses. These methods include extensive review and analysis of all our data products, as well as disclosure avoidance methodologies (such as data suppression and modification) to screen out data that might identify a specific individual or business.

I have trouble using the internet, how can I complete my Census?

You may first receive information explaining how to respond online to the American Community Survey. The Census Bureau will automatically send you a paper form if you do not complete the survey online in about two weeks. When completing the paper form, use a pen with blue or black ink, or a #2 pencil to fill out the form. Mail it back in the postage-paid return envelope. If you have trouble answering a question, call the Census Bureau at 1-800-354-7271, and they will help you. You do not need to mail the paper form back if you completed the survey online or by telephone.

If you have lost the envelope, send your completed questionnaire to:

U.S. Census Bureau
P.O. Box 5240
Jeffersonville, IN 47199-5240

What if I have more than one residence?

People who live and stay in more than one place should be counted at the residence where they live and sleep most of the time. If they cannot determine a place where they live most of the time, they are counted where they are staying on Census Day (April 1, 2020).

What do I need?

To complete your Census, it is best to have your personal documents close by, so you can start and finish the Census in one sitting. This includes any documents involving financial information such as annual household income, homeownership status, and more. To learn more about the questions asked and why, please click here.

What if I speak another language?

If you are more comfortable responding to the Census in a language other than English, you can respond online or by phone in Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Tagalog and Vietnamese.

Are you not seeing the answers to your questions? Please use the information below.

If you have general questions regarding a survey or the Census Bureau, call the Census Bureau Customer Service Center at 1-800-923-8282. If you need assistance in verifying a Census Bureau survey mailing, call, or in-person interview, contact the Census Bureau’s Regional Office at (215) 717-1800 or 1-800-262-4236. You can also email questions to [email protected]