Banner reminding people to fill out their census form online, by phone, or on paper

Today is Census 2020 Day

Census Banner on West High Street, Bellefonte, PA Asking Everyone to Participate in the 2020 Census

Once every ten years, the United States counts every person residing in the country.  This is the year!  And today, April 1, 2020 is Census Day! The census includes every person living in a household or apartment, group quarters, and individuals living on the streets throughout the United State of America..

Throughout the country, April 1 is the designated day on which every person residing with you, even if only temporarily, is to be counted. This includes all newborn babies and children and anyone else who resides with you that day – including people (like foster kids or your parents) who might be temporarily residing with you.

Why is the census so important? The results are used to determine how much funding local communities receive for key public services. Funding for such things as our roads, our police and fire departments, and our schools and hospitals are based on the Census. It also determines how many seats each state gets in Congress. State and local officials also use census counts to draw boundaries for congressional, state legislative, and school districts.

On or about March 15, every household should should have received a postcard from the US Census Bureau inviting you to fill out the Census on-line, by phone, or you can request a paper version. This postcard contains a unique number so that the Census only counts people at your address one time only.  If you lost this card (see sample below), you can still fill out the Census, but it will take a bit of extra work.

Sample Postcard from the US Census Bureau Inviting You to Participate in the 2020 Census.

The website where you fill out your census information is On the landing page, you are asked to press the button labeled, “Start Questionnaire.” On the next page, you are asked to enter the unique number listed on the postcard that was mailed to you.  Once you do that, you will confirm your home address and answer the census questions for each member of your household. 

If you don’t have that unique number, you can click on the link that says, If you do not have a Census ID, click here. That link will take you to a series of questions asking for your if you live in a state, in Puerto Rico, or somewhere else. Note, “somewhere else drops you out of the program indicating that either your location is ineligible for the Census OR that you live in a territory where an enumerator will come to your home to complete the Census with you.  The other two links step you through a series of questions to locate your residence.  Once the “where do you live” type questions are complete, you will then answer the census question for each member of your household.

Getting a complete and accurate census count is critically important. If you do not respond to the postcard, the U.S. Census Bureau will send you a paper version to fill out and mail back to them.  If you still haven’t filled it out by probably the end of April , they will follow up in person to collect your response. And in this era of the Corona Virus pandemic, filling it out on line, by phone, or on paper will help keep you and your neighbors safe.

Note to college students. Due to the pandemic and the resulting closure of colleges, universities, and trade schools throughout the country, you may have returned home.  The US Census Bureau wants you to fill out the form as if you are living in the college town on April 1. Here’s what the Census Bureau says re college students and Covid-19:

In general, students in colleges and universities temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 virus will still be counted as part of this process.  Even if they are home on census day, April 1, they should be counted according to the residence criteria which states they should be counted where they live and sleep most of the time. We are asking schools to contact their students and remind them to respond.

Census Bureau Statement on Modifying 2020 Census Operations to Make Sure College Students are Counted,

No matter how you respond, your personal information is confidential. The Census Bureau is required by law to protect your answers. Your responses are used only to produce statistics. The Census Bureau does not disclose any personal information and it can never be used to identify you.

Thank you for being a good neighbor and for filling out your Census 2020 form.