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What is the census?
How will the census impact my community?
Can I respond to the 2020 Census now?
What questions does the census ask?
What does it look like?
How long will it take to fill out?
Can I refuse to answer a question?
What if I don’t respond at all?
Will I be asked about my citizenship or immigration status?
How can I respond to the census?
How does the online option work?
Is my Census data safe?
Special Circumstances
Learn more about the Census
Additional Resources
Census Questionnaire Assistance phone numbers


What is the census?

The 2020 Census counts every person living in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories. It’s mandated by the U.S. Constitution in Article 1, Section 2: The U.S. has counted its population every 10 years since 1790.

The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and your community.


How will the census impact my community?

Health clinics. Fire departments. Schools. Even roads and highways. The census can shape many different aspects of your community.  

Census results help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into states and communities each year. For example, census data is used to determine funding for school lunch programs, initiatives for special education programs in schools, Head Start programs, and grants for teachers, among many other areas of community support.  Other affected areas of community support include maintaining infrastructure, new construction in neighborhoods, emergency preparedness, employment services, and much more.

Also, the census population count is used to determine representation in Congress (known as reapportionment) and the Electoral College. Simply put, communities that are undercounted are disadvantaged economically and politically.


Can I respond to the 2020 Census now?

Invitations to respond to the 2020 Census will be delivered between March 12-20. Once you receive that invitation, you can respond online, by phone, or by mail.


What questions does the census ask?

Take a look at the questions that will be asked on your 2020 Census form here:

Keep an eye on the questions the Census Bureau will never ask you for:

  • Your Social Security number.
  • Money or donations.
  • Anything on behalf of a political party.
  • Your bank or credit card account numbers.

If someone claiming to be from the Census Bureau contacts you via email or phone and asks you for one of these things, it’s a scam, and you should not cooperate. For more information, visit Avoiding Fraud and Scams.


What does it look like?

Sample copy of the 2020 Census Questionnaire:



How long will it take to fill out?

This is partially dependent on the number of people in the household, but the Census Bureau estimates that it will take the average person about ten minutes to complete the census.


Can I refuse to answer a question?

The Census Bureau strongly encourages everyone to respond to all questions, but will still accept a submission if it is incomplete.


What if I don’t respond at all?

If you don’t respond, the Census Bureau will send up to five mailings to your address and a representative will appear in person for multiple additional attempts. 

Under-reporting in your neighborhood or community may have larger consequences in terms of possibly impacting supports for community services or in some areas, representation in government.


Will I be asked about my citizenship or immigration status?

No. There will be NO question asking if a respondent is a U.S. citizen in the 2020 Census.


How can I respond to the census?

By April 1, 2020, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. You will have three options for responding:

By phone.
By mail.

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


How does the online option work?

The online option is a new addition  for this Census which saves paper, and offers help screens as respondents review their answers. 

To complete the Census online, respondents will need the address label from the packet they were mailed. Once they login, a PIN will be automatically generated. If  the respondent provides answers to the security questions, they will also be able to reset their User ID later if they need to.

If someone loses their materials or does not have their User ID for any reason, they can call  1-800-354-7271 to get this information.

You can go here for a tutorial on filling out the online form.

For more information:  Responding to the 2020 Census without a Census ID

Is my Census data safe?

When you respond to the census, your answers are kept anonymous. They are used only to produce statistics. Your responses are protected by law.  A violation could result in a fine of $250,000 or five years of jail time.

By law, the Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about you, your home, or your business, even to law enforcement agencies. The law ensures that your private information is never published and that your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court. No court of law can subpoena census responses or enforce such a subpoena issued by another entity (e.g., a government agency). That’s protected under Title 13 of the U.S. Code. Even the Patriot Act does not override the law that protects the confidentiality of individual census responses.


Special Circumstances

For some people, it’s not clear how they should count themselves or the people in their home. 

These confusing circumstances may include:

People who live in more than one place.
People who are moving on Census Day (April 1, 2020).
People who are born or die on Census Day (April 1, 2020).
People experiencing homelessness.

Visit the link below for specific information.



Learn more about the Census

U.S. Census Bureau Resources


Additional Resources

Proviso Township Census 2020 page
Proviso Township Census 2020 brochure
Libraries’ Guide to the U.S. Census (ALA)


Census Questionnaire Assistance

Starting March 9, respondents can call these toll-free numbers for assistance or to respond to the 2020 Census by phone:

English: 844-330-2020
Spanish: 844-468-2020
Chinese (Mandarin): 844-391-2020
Chinese (Cantonese): 844-398-2020
Vietnamese: 844-461-2020
Korean: 844-392-2020
Russian: 844-417-2020
Arabic: 844-416-2020
Tagalog: 844-478-2020
Polish: 844-479-2020
French: 844-494-2020
Haitian Creole: 844-477-2020
Portuguese: 844-474-2020
Japanese: 844-460-2020
English (Puerto Rico residents): 844-418-2020
Spanish (Puerto Rico residents): 844-426-2020
Telephone Display Device (TDD): 844-467-2020

Questionnaire guides in 59 languages



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