The 2020 Census is this year, and it's critical that our communities are counted. Read more about the census below, and learn how you can help New Virginia Majority #GetOutTheCount.
About the census
The census is a survey conducted every ten years by the United States government to determine the country’s population. The results of the census affect:
- The distribution of Congressional seats in the United States House of Representatives
- How the boundaries of congressional and state legislative districts are drawn during redistricting
- How to allocate money to states for federally funded community programs
Undercounting and why it matters
Communities of color, people experiencing homelessness, children under age five, and adults age 65+, are groups that are traditionally undercounted in the census. If these groups aren't accurately counted, certain communities won't receive adequate federal funding for public programs, and they will be underrepresented politically.
Some reasons why undercounting occurs:
- Low rates of English proficiency: Though language support for the census is available online in 59 non-English languages, the census form itself is only printed in English and Spanish. Click here for multi-lingual census support.
- Housing insecurity: People experiencing housing instability or homelessness may be living somewhere temporary or moving around during the census count, making it more likely that they won't be counted.
- Mistrust: Immigrant communities may fear opening their doors to unknown people or giving out information to the government.
- Internet Access: The 2020 Census will be the first census taken mainly online. People in low-income neighborhoods, elderly populations, and English-language learners are less likely to have access to and familiarity with the internet.
When will I receive the census? How do I return it?
By April 1, households will receive official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census. You can respond 3 ways:
- Online - preferred option
- By phone
- By mail - you will receive a form in the mail in mid/late April if you do not respond online or over the phone
You should try to return the census by May 1. From May to July, Census Bureau workers will visit the households who have not returned the census. If you do not want census workers to come to your house, fill out the census online as soon as you receive it.
What does the census ask?
- The number of people who live in your house as of April 1, 2020
- Name, sex, age, race, and date of birth of everyone in your household
- Whether you rent or own your home
The census DOES NOT ask for your citizenship status, social security number, or any financial information
Will census workers come to my house?
From May-July, census workers will come to homes of people who have not filled out the census. If you have not filled out the census, and a census worker comes to your door, you should talk to them - but first make sure they have an official Census Bureau ID. If you are not home or do not answer the door, census workers may visit your house or call you up to six times.
Census timeline/Important Dates
March 12-20: Households will receive official Census Bureau mail with instructions about how to respond to the census online, by phone, or by mail
March 30-April 1: Dates that the Census Bureau counts people experiencing homelessness
April 1: Census Day! By this day, every home will have received census materials. When you respond to the census, your answers should indicate where you and your household were living on April 1, 2020, even if you have moved since then.
April: Census workers will begin counting college students in dorms, people living in assisted living facilities, people who are incarcerated, and others in group living situations.
May-July: Census takers will begin visiting homes that have not responded to the census. Census workers will always have a Census Bureau ID badge. The best way to avoid a visit from a census taker is to fill out the 2020 Census questionnaire online, by phone, or by mail as soon as you receive it.