Census Day!

April 1 is Census Day, a key reference date for the 2020 Census. When completing the census, you will include everyone living in your home on April 1, 2020. Census Day will be celebrated with events across the country.

The Census is an official count or survey of a population, typically recording various details of individuals. The Census Bureau is the federal government’s largest statistical agency. The Census is taken every 10 years.

The population totals from the census determine the number of seats each state has in the House oAf Representatives. States also use the totals to redraw their legislative and school districts. The results of the 2020 Census will help determine how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding flow into communities every year for the next decade. That funding shapes many different aspects of every community, no matter the size, no matter the location.

Census results affect planning and funding for infrastructure—including programs for highway planning and construction, Section 8 housing, federal transit, community development, and rural water and waste disposal systems, as well as grants for buses, subways, and other public transit systems.

Census results affect planning and funding for education—including programs such as Head Start, Pell Grants, school lunches, rural education, adult education, and grants for preschool special education..

Census data helps communities respond to natural disasters and secure funding for hospitals and fire departments

Census results affect planning and funding for healthcare—including programs such as Medicaid, Medicare Part B, State Children’s Health Insurance, and the prevention and treatment of substance abuse.

Census results affect planning and funding for employment and training—including programs for vocational rehabilitation state grants, dislocated workers, and American Indian and Alaska Native employment and training. The list goes on, including programs to support rural areas, to restore wildlife, to prevent child abuse, to prepare for wildfires, and to provide housing assistance for older adults.

Overall Timeline

Counting every person living in the United States is a massive undertaking, and efforts begin years in advance. Here’s a look at some of the key dates along the way:

2020

January 21: The U.S. Census Bureau starts counting the population in remote Alaska. The count officially begins in the rural Alaskan village of Toksook Bay. 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. March 30 – April 1: The Census Bureau will count people who are experiencing homelessness over these three days. As part of this process, the Census Bureau counts people in shelters, at soup kitchens and mobile food vans, on the streets, and at non-sheltered, outdoor locations such as tent encampments. April 1: Census Day is observed nationwide. By this date, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrives, you should respond for your home in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail. When you respond to the census, you’ll tell the Census Bureau where you live as of April 1, 2020. 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. May – July: Census takers will begin visiting homes that haven’t responded to the 2020 Census to help make sure everyone is counted. December: The Census Bureau will deliver apportionment counts to the President and Congress as required by law. 2021 March 31: By this date, the Census Bureau will send redistricting counts to states. This information is used to redraw legislative districts based on population changes. Here are some of the efforts completed in 2019: January – September: The Census Bureau opened more than 200 area census offices across the country. These offices support and manage the census takers who work all over the country to conduct the census. August – October: Census takers visited areas that have experienced a lot of change and growth to ensure that the Census Bureau’s address list is up to date. This process is called address canvassing, and it helps to ensure that everyone receives an invitation to participate in the census.