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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Census?


Every ten years, the U.S. Census survey aims to count every resident currently living in the United States. The information collected determines the distribution of more than $675 billion in federal funds annually to communities across the country. Census data from 2010 informed more than $33 billion in federal funding for Illinois’ schools, healthcare, and roads every year for 10 years. This included billions for Pell Grants and Federal Direct Student Loans.




When is the 2020 Census?


April 1, 2020 is National Census Day! Key Dates: March 12 - 20: Households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone, or by mail. April 1: Census Day is observed nationwide. By this date, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. April: Census takers will begin visiting college students who live on campus, people living in senior centers, and others who live among large groups of people. Census takers also begin conducting quality check interviews to help ensure an accurate count. For more information on when to take the census, click here: https://2020census.gov/en/important-dates.html




Why is the Census Important to Me?


Responding to the census affects the amount of funding your community receives, how it plans for the future, and your representation in Congress. Data from the 2020 Census are used to:

  • Ensure public services and funding for schools, hospitals, fire departments, and more.
  • Plans new residences and business to improve neighborhoods
  • Determines how many seats your state is allocated in the House of Representatives




Who Should Fill Out the Census Survey?


Everyone 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) is required by law to be counted in the 2020 Census. People in some special living situations may have questions about how to respond. This includes:

  • Students
  • Service members
  • People in correctional facilities
  • People who move on Census Day (April 1, 2020)
  • People who do not have fixed addresses
Visit Who To Count for information on how people in these groups will be counted.




Where Can I Take the Census Survey?


By April 1, 2020, there will be three options for responding: online, by phone, or by mail. In mid-March, households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census.




How Much Time Does it Take to Complete the Survey?


That depends on how many people live in your household. But for most people, completing the Census will take about 10 minutes—the amount of time it takes to wait for the CTA redline!




What will the Census ask?


The 2020 Census will collect basic information about the people living in your household When completing the census, you should count everyone who is living in your household on April 1, 2020.

Students should be counted where they live and sleep for most of the year. If you attend college away from home for the academic year, you should be counted in your college community.




What won't the Census ask?


The Census Bureau will never as for:

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




Will my Census Information be used Against Me?


No. Strict federal law protects your census responses. The Census Bureau cannot share your information with any other government agency.

The Census Bureau has a robust cybersecurity program to ensure your information is safe from cybercriminals.





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