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2020 Census Information and Resources for Libraries: Overview

Useful resources to prepare for the 2020 Census

What is the 2020 Census?

2020 Census Made Simple Short PSA Video

What Is the 2020 Census?

  • The 2020 Census counts every person living in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands).
  • The count is mandated by the Constitution and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency.
  • Each home will receive an invitation to self-respond to a short questionnaire - Online, by Phone, or by Mail.

Why We Conduct This Count

  • Over the next decade, lawmakers, business owners, teachers and many others will use 2020 Census data to make critical decisions e.g., providing daily services, products, and support for you and your community.
  • The results will inform how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data. This also includes more than 100 programs, including Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP. 
  • The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to adjust or redraw congressional and state legislative districts.
  • It's also in the Constitution: Article 1, Section 2, mandates that the country conduct a count of its population once every 10 years.
  • The 2020 Census will mark the 24th time that the country has counted its population since 1790.

Counting Everyone

  • Counting everyone once, only once, and in the right place - There is a process in place to resolve duplicate submissions, so if there is any doubt that you've already been counted, please go ahead and complete the questionnaire.
  • Participating in the census is required by law, even if you recently completed another survey from the Census Bureau.
  • A complete and accurate count is critical for you and your community, because the results of the 2020 Census will affect community funding, congressional representation, and more.

Count Everyone Under Your Roof

  • If you are filling out the census for your home, you should count everyone who is living there as of April 1, 2020.
    • This includes any friends or family members who are living and sleeping there most of the time.
    • If someone is staying in your home on April 1, and has no usual home elsewhere, you should count them in your response to the 2020 Census.
  • Please also be sure to count roommates, young children, newborns, and anyone who is renting a space in your home.
    • These people are often missed in the census.
    • This means they can miss out on resources for themselves and their communities over the next 10 years.
  • For more information about possible Special Circumstances, see