The U.S. Census has been conducted every 10 years since 1790. Participation is required by law. Personally identifiable information is private and the Census Bureau will never release it. However, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will release the original census returns in 2092, if the 72-year rule is not changed before then.
Purpose of the Census: In 2020, the United States population is projected to be 333,546,000, an 8.03% increase from the 2010 Census.
- Reapportionment: The results of the 2020 census will determine the number of seats for each state in the House of Representatives, which mirrors the number of delegates for each state in the Electoral College, for elections in 2022 to 2030.
- Redistricting: State and local officials use census counts to redraw boundaries for districts like congressional districts (redistricting), state legislative districts, and school districts.
- Census data as the basis for federal funding distribution: Dozens of federal programs use census data to help direct funding to state and local areas. Census results help determine how more than $675 billion in federal funding is allocated to states and communities each year for roads, schools, hospitals (health clinics), emergency services, and more.[
The 2020 Census will hire about 500,000 temporary workers for jobs that include census takers, address collectors, office staff, partnership specialists and more. Candidates can apply online at 2020census.gov/jobs or USAjobs.gov.
- Candidates must:
- Be 18 or older, have a valid Social Security number, be a U.S. citizen, and have a valid email address.
- Complete a job application and answer applicant assessment questions.
- For many jobs, have a valid driver’s license and a vehicle, unless public transportation is readily available.
- Have access to a computer with internet and an email account to complete training. Hired census workers will be paid for training at a training pay rate.
- Pass an FBI background and fingerprint check.
- Follow strict guidelines and confidentiality laws.
- All persons hired must take a lifetime oath to protect the confidentiality of the data they see.I
- January – March 2019: The U.S. Census Bureau opens 39 area census offices.
- June – September 2019: The Census Bureau opens the remaining 209 area census offices.
- The offices support and manage the census takers who work all over the country to conduct the census.
- August 2019: The Census Bureau conducts the in-field address canvassing operation.
- Census takers visit areas that have added or lost housing in recent years to ensure that the Census Bureau’s address list is up to date.
- The 2020 Census will be the first modern census that doesn’t verify every address in person, on the ground. Instead, satellite imagery, U.S. Postal Service and other current records will verify most addresses, and will highlight areas where census workers need to verify in-person.
- January 2020: The Census Bureau begins counting the population in remote Alaska.
- April 1, 2020: Census Day is observed nationwide.
- By this date, households will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census.
- There are three options for responding:
- by mail, or
- by phone.
- April 2020: Census takers begin following up with households around selected colleges and universities.
- Census takers also begin conducting quality check interviews.
- May 2020: The Census Bureau begins following up with households that have not responded.
- December 2020: The Census Bureau delivers apportionment counts to the president.
No Citizenship question:
The Supreme Court issued its decision on June 27, 2019, rejecting the Trump administration’s stated rationale for including a citizenship question.[