2020 US Census: Everything You Need to Know

April 9, 2020

What is the Census and why is it important?

Every ten years, the federal government conducts a population count of everyone in the United States. Data from the Census provide the basis for distributing federal funds annually to communities across the country, which support vital programs – housing, education, transportation, employment, health care, and public policy. They are also used to redraw the boundaries of congressional and state legislative districts and accurately determine the number of congressional seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.

When should I complete the Census?

As soon as possible! Our City-wide goal is to have:

  • 70-75% Census completion by April 30
  • 80-85% Census completion rate by May 31
  • 85-90% Census completion by the close of the Census in mid-August

How do I respond?

Residents can respond online, by phone, or by mail. Responding online is the quickest and easiest way to complete. It should take no more than a few minutes.

  • To respond online, please click here.
  • To respond by phone, please call: 844-330-2020 (Phone lines are open everyday from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. Eastern Time.)

What questions will be on the 2020 Census?

The 2020 Census asks how many people are living or staying at each address on the date of April 1, 2020. For each person, it asks about name, sex, age, date of birth, relationship, race, and type of housing.

It will NOT ask any questions regarding citizenship information, social security numbers, credit card numbers, anything affiliated with political parties, or request for money or donations.

Who should respond from my household?

One person from each home should respond for the entire household. They must be at least fifteen years old.

Will my information remain confidential?

Yes. Your information is completely confidential and protected by law, and therefore, cannot be shared with any other government agencies – including law enforcement or immigration officials. Federal law (U.S. Code Title 13, Section 9) protects your privacy and keeps your information safe and secure.

Are all Census procedures operating the same given the COVID-19?

As of right now, many processes are extended, delayed, or suspended – including all face-to-face measures. Any updates regarding COVID-19 and Census procedures will be reflected on Ferndale’s website and social media pages.

What if I don’t have a permanent living situation, but still want to participate?

Temporary living situations can still be recorded on the 2020 Census. In general, you should count yourself where you live and sleep most of the time, particularly on April 1, 2020.

  • If you have moved recently, count yourself at your new address if you moved in by April 1, 2020. If you had not moved by that date, count yourself at your previous address.
  • Regardless of whether you are renting or have bought your home, you can still record your residency in either circumstance.
  • If you are a college student living on campus, off-campus in student-designated housing, or off-campus on your own, please count yourself at that address. If you attend school but live at home with a parent or guardian, count yourself at that address.
  • If you are a military service member and don’t live in military barracks (and are not currently deployed or stationed outside the U.S.), count yourself where you live and sleep most of the time, whether on or off base.
  • If you have temporarily relocated because of the COVID-19, please count your permanent home residence where you typically reside.
  • If you are a resident of a group facility, Census Bureau employees will work with a representative from your building to ensure you are counted. These include college dorms, military barracks, nursing homes, group homes, shelters, psychiatric facilities, or correctional facilities.

Will the forms be available in different languages?

Yes. You can respond online in English and twelve additional languages, including: Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Police, French, Hatian Creole, Portugese, and Japanese.

For all information about the 2020 Census, please click here.

If you need further assistance, please click here.


Reilly Coleman

Communications Assistant