Ninety-five percent or about 143 million households in the country will receive an initial invitation to respond to the 2020 Census in their mailboxes between March 12 and 20, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
It is important to respond, so that our state has a complete count. Our answers help decide how much money our community gets for programs that support local families during the next 10 years. That’s money for schools, child care, medical care, food assistance, housing and public transportation. The Census also plays a big part in how well we are represented by elected officials in California and Washington D.C.
Of all U.S. states, California had the highest undercount of children 5 and under on the 2010 Census. An undercount in 2020 could cost California up to $115 billion per year across federal programs.
Households will receive either an invitation encouraging them to respond online or by phone (about 112 million households), or an invitation along with a paper questionnaire (about 31 million households). All invitations will include a short phrase in English and 12 additional languages inviting people to respond online or by phone in their language. In areas where 20 percent or more of the households need Spanish assistance, the invitations will be in both English and Spanish.
The Census happens every 10 years and is the only official population count for the U.S. Here are a few more things families should know:
- Everyone counts in the Census. The person filling out the Census form for their address should count all people who live there.
- Count all children, including babies born on or before April 1, 2020.
- If they are living at the address on April 1, 2020, count all nieces, nephews, grandchildren, foster children and people not related, such as a friend and his or her child.
- Count people at the address even if they are not U.S. citizens. A person’s immigration status doesn’t matter on the Census, and the Census won’t ask whether people at your address are U.S. citizens.
- Count all people living at the address — even if they are not on the lease or rental agreement.
Filling out the Census form is easy. Parents and caregivers can respond to the Census online or by phone in English, Spanish, or 11 other languages. You can even fill out your Census form your smartphone. Learn more by visiting 2020census.gov