Census FAQ's

  • Is it illegal for the Census Bureau to release your personal information?
 
  • The Census Bureau is bound by Title 13 of the U.S. Code to keep your information confidential. This law protects your answers to the 2020 Census. Under Title 13, 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 data is protected and that your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court. Violating Title 13 is a federal crime, punishable by prison time and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
 
  • Why is the census important?
 
  • The census is required by the Constitution, which calls for an "actual enumeration" once a decade since 1790. The 2020 population numbers will shape how political power and federal tax dollars are shared in the U.S over the next 10 years. The number of congressional seats and Electoral College votes each state gets are determined by census numbers. They also guide how anestimated $1.5 trillion a year in federal funding is distributed for healthcare, schools, roads and other public services in local communities. The demographic data are used by businesses to determine, for example, where to build new supermarkets and by emergency responders to locate injured people after natural disasters.
 
  • Can another government agency access my census information?
 
  • No. Your responses cannot be used against you by any government agency, including law enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security, or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
 
  • Can my census responses affect my eligibility for government benefits?
 
  • No. Your responses to the census are confidential and will not affect your eligibility for any government benefits.
 
  • Is it safe to submit my personal information to the U.S. Census Bureau online?
 
  • Yes! All responses submitted online are encrypted to protect your personal privacy.
 
  • Does everyone in my household have to complete the questionnaire?
 
  • No. One person can complete the survey for everyone living in the house. If you are filling out the census for your home, you should count everyone who is living there as of April 1, 2020. This includes anyone—related or unrelated to you—who lives and sleeps at your home most of the time. Make sure to count roommates,young children, newborns, and anyone who is renting a space in your home. If someone is staying in your home on April 1 and has no usual home elsewhere, you should count them in your response to the 2020 Census. If someone such as a college student is just living with you temporarily due to the COVID-19 situation, they should be counted where they ordinarily would be living on April 1, 2020.
 
  • Make sure you count everyone living in your home. Where there are more people, there are more needs. An accurate count helps inform funding for hospitals, fire departments, schools, and roads for the next 10 years.