The U.S. Constitution requires that each decade we take a count — or a census — of America’s population. The goal of the 2020 Census is to count everyone once, only once, and in the right place.
What is the Census?
The data collected by the census is used in many ways, such as:
- Distribution of more than $675 billion annually in federal funds back to state and local governments.
- Redistricting of legislative districts.
- Forecasting future transportation needs for all segments of the population.
- Determining areas eligible for housing assistance and rehabilitation loans.
- Assisting federal, tribal, state and local governments in planning and implementing programs, services and emergency response.
- Designing facilities for people with disabilities, the elderly and children.
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Completing the Census
By April 2020, households will receive an invitation to participate in the census. You’ll then have three options to respond: online, by phone or by mail.
Approximately 95% of households will receive their census invitation in the mail, while 5% will receive theirs when a census taker drops it off (primarily for households that use a PO box).
Census Day will be on April 1, 2020, with events across the country. This is a key date for the 2020 count: When completing the census, you’ll note where you are living on April 1.
Here is what you will receive in the mail in 2020:
- March 12-20: An invitation to respond to the census.
- March 16-24: A reminder letter.
If you haven’t responded yet, you will receive additional notifications:
- March 26-April 3: A reminder postcard.
- April 8-16: A reminder letter and paper questionnaire.
- April 20-27: A final reminder postcard before receiving a follow-up in person.
All responses to Census Bureau surveys and censuses are confidential and protected under Title 13 of the U .S . Code. Under this law, the Census Bureau is required to keep respondent information confidential. It will never share a respondent’s personal information with immigration enforcement agencies, like ICE; law enforcement agencies, like the FBI or police; or allow it to be used to determine their eligibility for government benefits. The results from any census or survey are reported in statistical format only.
Did You Know?
- For every Northern Virginia resident who is not counted in the Census, our region loses $2,000 a year in federal assistance program allocations.
- Our representation in the U.S. House of Representatives depends on a complete count of our region.
- Federal funds distributed to Virginia based on Census data paid for:
- Federal direct student loans
- Highway planning and construction
- Head Start and special education grants
- The National School Lunch Program
- Medicare and Medicaid
- Section 8 subsidies