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US Census Bureau explains what the 2020 Census will ask

information compiled from the US Census Bureau

LANSING, Ill. (December 10, 2019) – As required by the Census Act, the US Census Bureau submitted a list of questions to Congress on March 29, 2018. Based on those questions, the 2020 Census will ask the following. (Also provided is the Census Bureau’s explanation of why each question is helpful.):

  1. How many people are living or staying at your home on April 1, 2020. (This will help us count the entire US population and ensure that we count people according to where they live on Census Day.)
  2. Whether the home is owned or rented. (This will help us produce statistics about homeownership and renting. The rates of homeownership serve as one indicator of the nation’s economy. They also help in administering housing programs and informing planning decisions.)
  3. About the sex of each person in your home. (This allows us to create statistics about males and females, which can be used in planning and funding government programs. This data can also be used to enforce laws, regulations, and policies against discrimination.)
  4. About the age of each person in your home. (The US Census Bureau creates statistics to better understand the size and characteristics of different age groups. Agencies use this data to plan and fund government programs that support specific age groups, including children and older adults.)
  5. About the race of each person in your home. (This allows us to create statistics about race and to provide other statistics by racial groups. This data helps federal agencies monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions, such as those in the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.)
  6. About whether a person in your home is of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin. (These responses help create statistics about this ethnic group. This is needed by federal agencies to monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions, such as those in the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.)
  7. About the relationship of each person in your home. (This allows the Census Bureau to create estimates about families, households, and other groups. Relationship data is used in planning and funding government programs that support families, including people raising children alone.)

Governments, businesses, communities, and nonprofits all rely on the data that these questions produce to make critical decisions.

What the census won’t ask

There are certain questions that Census 2020 will not ask, including questions about:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Money or donations
  • Anything on behalf of a political party
  • Your bank or credit card account numbers

If someone claiming to be from the Census Bureau contacts you via email or phone and asks for this type of information, consider it a scam, and do not respond.

Census information stays confidential

The Census Bureau is bound by federal law to protect information that is provided by census participants, and multiple safeguards are in place to ensure confidentiality. For example, individual Census workers who go door-to-door to request information do not retain that information once they leave the household. It disappears from their handheld devices and is compiled with information from other homes to produce statistics. The statistical information never identifies individual homes or individual people.

For more information about the 2020 Census, contact any member of Lansing’s Complete Count Committee:

Volunteers from a variety of Lansing networks form the Complete Count Committee. Back row, from left: Ernst Lamothe, Veronica Reyes, Melanie Jongsma, Rick Pierce, Bert Rivera, Darvel Stinson, Miguel Gutierrez, Richard Podgorski, Mike Fish. Front row: Vivian Payne, Kim Morley, Karen Adams, Martha Vargas. Not pictured: Debbie Albrecht. (Photo: Cory Stevenson, Census Bureau)

The leaders of the Complete Count Committee are:

Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.