2020 Census

Click here for important updates on COVID-19 and the Census!

Our families count!

This is our chance to show what America really looks like. Every person living in the United States needs to be counted. And it’s our right to be represented.

Being counted means more resources for our community, including:

- More money for our kids’ schools
- More programs in our neighborhoods
- Funding and equipment for hospitals and fire departments

Our participation will affect how nearly $700 billion will be invested in local communities around the country. We need to be represented for the well-being of our kids and families. Anything shared in the Census is completely private and anonymous, and it’s against the law for any information to be used against us.

Ways to be counted

Online: For the first time, complete the Census online. Also available in Spanish

Mail: Paper forms will be mailed to your home

Phone: Complete the form by phone. Also available in Spanish

Get started right now at my2020census.gov.

What is the Decennial Census?

The U.S. Constitution requires an accurate count every ten years of all persons living in the United States, regardless of their citizenship status or national origin. 

Census data determine everything from how much representation our communities have in Congress, to the amount of resources that are provided to the places we live. 

The data allow us to understand how our population is growing and changing, and have a direct impact on the political, economic and social progress of our country.

For these reasons, it is critical to collect accurate Census data from all persons living in the country.

What are Census data used for?

Census data serve many purposes; most importantly, they are used to determine political representation and government spending on key programs that impact the health and well-being of communities such as schools, roads, hospitals, fire departments and senior centers. That is why it is so important to get an accurate Census count. 

Specifically, the Census determines:

  • Apportionment of congressional seats in the U.S. House of Representatives
  • How district lines are drawn at all levels of government

It also determines the distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal funding to state and local programs, including:

  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • SNAP
  • Title I Grants
  • Head Start
  • Section 8, Special Education Grants (IDEA)
  • State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

As well as:

  • Business decisions, consumer populations and marketing strategies
  • Monitoring discrimination and enforcing civil rights laws
  • Demographic and other research


In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. Census Bureau has adjusted 2020 Census operations in order to:

  • Protect the health and safety of Census Bureau employees and the American public.
  • Implement guidance from federal, state, and local health authorities.
  • Ensure a complete and accurate count of all communities.

The decision to restart select operations is made in coordination with federal, state and local health officials, and driven by a thorough review of the operating status of a state, locality or tribal area, and the ability of Census Bureau staff to safely resume operations (including the procurement of PPE).

The Census Bureau has ordered Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all field staff, who will receive safety training to observe social distancing protocols.

For a full roll-out of 2020 Census Operational Adjustments Due to Covid-19, click here.

For updates on where Area Census Offices (ACOs) are restarting operations at a state level, click here.


  • The Self-Response Phase (online, phone, and mailed self-responses) will continue through October 31, 2020.
  • The Census Bureau will resume Update Leave operations on May 4, 2020 meaning that it will drop off 2020 Census invitation packets at front doors of households in areas where the majority of households do not receive mail at their home. Update Leave operation does not require interaction between households and Census Bureau employee.
  • Non-response Follow-Up (NRFU), in which Census takers interview households in person if they have not yet responded, will take place from August 11 to October 31, 2020.

Households that receive the 2020 Census invitation packets are strongly encouraged to respond promptly (online, by phone or by mail) to the 2020 Census using the census ID included in the questionnaire packet. Responding with the census ID or by completing and returning the paper questionnaire helps ensure the best count of their community.


For the latest Census response-rate in your state, county, zipcode or neighborhood, please go to this map by the City University of New York (CUNY) Center for Urban Research


  • Filling out the Census is more critical than ever: Census data are being used by policy leaders to respond to COVID-19
  • Wash your hands, stay at home, practice social distancing and self respond by mail, online, or via phone
  • The Census does not ask about citizenship
  • Your information is safe, secure, and confidential
  • Self-responding helps avoid an in-person visit by a census taker
  • You can call the Census Bureau to complete the form
    • English: 844-330-2020
    • Spanish: 844-468-2020
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to answer the Census


  • For more information and resources for continuing Census education and outreach during the Covid-19 pandemic, visit NALEO’s Hágase Contar Resource page here.
  • For a comprehensive toolkit, sample curriculum, informational material, and template presentation for educators and parents, click here. 


How will I be able to respond to the Census?

Every household in the U.S. will receive an invitation to answer the Census, and will have the option of responding online, by mail or by phone. Households that do not respond will receive a visit from a Census enumerator.

We strongly encourage people to respond to the Census as soon as possible, and online. This is the easiest way to answer the questionnaire and will prevent the need for an enumerator visit. If you do not have a computer, we strongly encourage you to look for Census outreach events sponsored by churches, libraries, health clinics, and other community-based organizations across the country, which will facilitate Census intake.

Who are Census enumerators?

Enumerators are census takers who are hired temporarily for the United States population census. They interview the residents of every household that has not responded via the online or paper forms to collect Census information. In 2020, the Census Bureau projects that Census takers may be responsible for recording up to 40 percent of the count.

We strongly encourage Latino and bi-lingual community members to consider these jobs. It is important to have trusted messengers from the community to gather Census data in our communities. Enumerator jobs are part-time, flexible and well-paid; there typically are no education requirements for this job.

To view Census jobs in your area and apply directly, visit here.

Do I have to fill out the Census questionnaire or is it optional?

It is not optional. By law, individuals are required to fill out the census form, as the Constitution requires that every person in the country be counted.  If you do not fill out the form online, by phone or by mail, or if you do not answer all the questions on the form, a Census taker will come to your home to finalize the questionnaire. If you are over 18 years old and refuse to answer all or part of the Census, or provide false information, you can be fined up to $1,000.

Will the citizenship question be on the Census form?

No. In June 2019, the Supreme Court decided not to allow the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census, following the recommendation of every secretary of commerce and statisticians since 1950.

Are the Census data confidential and is it safe for everyone to respond?

The Census Bureau states:

“The Census Bureau is required by law to protect any personal information we collect and keep it strictly confidential. The Census Bureau can only use your answers to produce statistics. In fact, every Census Bureau employee takes an oath to protect your personal information for life. Your answers cannot be used for law enforcement purposes or to determine your personal eligibility for government benefits.

By law, your census responses cannot be used against you by any government agency or court in any way—not by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), not by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), not by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and not by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The law requires the Census Bureau to keep your information confidential and use your responses only to produce statistics.”

What is UnidosUS doing to ensure a full and accurate count of the Latino population?

At UnidosUS, our main goal is to help maximize the Latino Census 2020 count, particularly among hard-to-count (HTC) populations, by meaningfully engaging our Affiliates and partners in strategic locations and leveraging Unidos’ assets and visibility toward that end.

Our activities include:

  • Implementing the informative webinar series “Let’s Get Counted!” through which national partners and Affiliates can share important outreach information and resources with each other;
  • Providing small subgrants to Affiliates conducting outreach and education activities with particularly Hard to Count populations in targeted states;
  • Working with all of our programs, including Education and Health programs as well as UnidosUS GOTV canvassers, to disseminate messages and information;
  • Encouraging Hispanic/bi-lingual community members to work as enumerators (NRFU);
  • Sharing vital information, resources, important dates and messaging with Affiliates, the media and the public in order to empower our communities to get counted.

The partners of UnidosUS and our network of Affiliates include: NALEO, Hágase Contar, LCCHR, Census Bureau, Census Open Innovation Labs, Culture One World, and WKKF.

Hard to Count populations are those identified by the Census Bureau as having historically low response rates to the Census. They include:

  • Latinos, African-Americans and American Indians
  • Households with low incomes
  • Immigrants and individuals with low English-language proficiency
  • Renters
  • Residents who live in non-traditional housing
  • Rural residents
  • Highly mobile residents, such as farmworkers 
  • Very young children aged 0-4  

Additional Resources