at a Glance
The census is much more than
just a head count. It provides a picture of our nation that helps determine where
to build new schools, hospitals, and businesses; how federal funding is distributed;
and how congressional seats are apportioned. It also helps us see how our communities
have changed over time. That’s why an accurate count is so important.
UNDERSTANDING THE CENSUS
Once every decade, the federal
government conducts a census of the entire population to count everyone in the United
States and record basic information about them. Our nation’s founders believed this
data was so important that they mandated the decennial census in the Constitution.
Easy and Convenient
In 2020, for the first time ever, the U.S. Census Bureau will accept responses online,
but you can still respond by phone or mail if you prefer.
Confidential and Secure
Strict federal law protects your census responses. It is against the law for any
Census Bureau employee to disclose or publish any census information that identifies
an individual or business. Census Bureau employees take a lifelong pledge of confidentiality
to handle data responsibly and keep respondents’ information private. The penalty
for wrongful disclosure is a fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment for up to 5
years, or both. No law enforcement agency (not the DHS, ICE, FBI, or CIA) can access
or use your personal information at any time. Data collected can only be used for
statistical purposes that help inform important decisions, including how much federal
funding your community receives.
The Census Bureau will never ask for your Social Security number, bank or credit
card account numbers, money or donations, or anything on behalf of a political party.
The Census Bureau has a robust cybersecurity program that incorporates industry
best practices and federal security standards for encrypting data.
To make sure you and your community
are counted, learn more about the 2020 Census by visiting
Why the Census is Important for Our Kids
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