1. Get Answers

Your 2020 Census Timeline

Census FAQs

You will receive a Census Questionnaire in the mail sometime between March 12-March 20.

You can complete by completing and mailing back the form you receive in the mail, by phone, or online using instructions provided on your form.

When answering the Census Questionnaire, you may find these guides from the U.S. Census Bureau very helpful. They are available in over 60 languages.

  • EVERYONE needs to be counted, regardless of race, living situations, socioeconomic status, religion or ethnicity.
  • This includes every child, from newborns (born before April 1) to pre-school age children to children who only live with you most of the time.
  • You should also count anyone who is living with you most of the time even on a temporary basis on April 1.

Chances are that if you complete the Census as soon as you receive it, you will not be visited by a Census Taker. Census Takers will not start to go door-to-door until May. Here is more information on recognizing and verifying that someone is with the U.S. Census: Census Takers in Your Neighborhood

When responding to the 2020 Census, college students should be counted where they live and sleep most of the time as of April 1, 2020. For most students, that means in their college town, not back home with their parents. Here is Census guidance on counting college students: From the U.S. Census Bureau

Parents or guardians should only include children in college who live with them full time during the school year.They should not list college students studying or living abroad on April 1.

College towns rely on having the numbers of residents accurately reflect the ever-changing face of their communities.

The Census sets aside three days (March 30-April 1) to count individuals in shelters, at soup kitchens, in encampments, or experiencing other forms of homelessness.

Individuals in senior or assisted living are also counted as part of a special effort to count group living settings.

2020 Census PSA: How Will 2020 Census Data be Used?

Also, it’s important that you know that federal law protects your responses. Your answers can only be used to produce statistics and cannot be used against you by any government agency or court.

An accurate Census count, and individuals being counted in their primary community of residence, are hugely important for accurate:

  • Data – Businesses rely on Census data to make decisions that will bring amenities or jobs to your community.
  • Dollars – Federal funding in our communities toward schools, transportation, education, public health, and infrastructure  is also highly driven by Census data.
  • Districting – Representation in the U.S. House of Representatives is also determined by Census data, helping to ensure fair representation.

Yes! Several of our partner organizations are offering 2020 Census information hotlines:

Arab American Institute:

(833) 333-6864 or (833) 3DD-OUNI (“Count me” in Arabic)

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC:

(844) 2020-API or (844) 202-
0274 (English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Urdu,
Hindi, and Bengali/Bangla)

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights:


NALEO Educational Fund:

877-EL-CENSO or 877-352-3676 (Spanish)

We encourage all to take advantage of these useful resources for any and all questions about the #2020Census.

Yes, Census data is protected and confidential under Federal law. All US Census Bureau employees take an oath to protect any data received in a Census questionnaire, and it is kept confidential for 72 years.

Download Bilingual (EN/ES) FAQs

Get The Facts

The Latest on Census Legal Challenges

Brennan Center Census Litigation Page

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  • This year you’ll be asked if you’re a U.S. Citizen.
  • Responses to the Census can be used by law enforcement.
2. Get a Plan

What’s your Census plan?

  • First: Think about where you will respond.

    Not everyone’s living situation is the same. If you live rent or own your own place, then of course you will answer at the address where you receive your own questionnaire. However, if you are living with someone else, away for college, or have other people living, you will want to familiarize yourself with who else should be counted or not counted in your home. Here is an excellent resource to decide: HOUSEHOLD LIVING SCENARIOS: WHO COUNTS WHERE?

  • Second: When will you get the form?

    In mid-March, households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census.

  • Third: How will you respond?

    By April 1, 2020, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census.

    You will have three options for responding:

    • Online.
    • By phone.
    • By mail.

    When answering the Census Questionnaire, you may find these guides from the U.S. Census Bureau very helpful. They are available in over 60 languages. Visit our page on responding to the Census.

3. Get Involved

Become a New York Counts Partner.