March to Your Mailboxes to Discover How You Can Participate in the 2020 Census
Starting this month, millions of people will begin receiving information in the mail from the U.S. Census Bureau indicating how to participate in the 2020 Census. Based on where you live, the U.S. Census Bureau will recommend that you participate in one of three ways: online, by phone, and by mail.
The majority of people will be encouraged to participate online. Once you receive this information (which will include a unique ID number) visit my2020census.govto complete your online questionnaire. You also complete your 2020 Census questionnaire by calling 844-330-2020 (English). Access phone numbers in other languages here. Don’t wait to participate! You can complete your questionnaire as soon as you receive instructions in the mail.
Information captured by the census helps support programs integral to community and economic development. Ensure you and your community counts in the 2020 Census. View the online platform and questionaire.
Why Does the 2020 Census Matter for Communities?
Data gathered by the census determines how $675 billion dollars in federal funding is dispersed across the nation to support programs like the National School Lunch Program, Pell Grants, along with a myriad of other programs integral to community development.
Based on information from the 2010 Census, Arkansas received $9 billion dollars to support 55 federally funded programs. The majority of these programs specifically target rural communities and help bolster development initiatives like rural electrification and small business loans.
Residents, businesses, local government officials, and real estate developers all use census data to make decisions and plan for communities. Whether it’s building a new school or hospital or repairing highways and roads, communities use census data to make decisions that impact the quality of life of your community.
A 1% undercount of Arkansans could result in the loss of $750 million- $1 billion dollars over the course of 10 years for the state.
Who Gets Counted in the 2020 Census?
We all have different living situations. Maybe you are raising a grandchild. Maybe you are traveling in an RV. Maybe you have a friend staying on your couch. Whatever your situation may be, it's important to count all people living living with you as of April 1, 2020. This includes:
- Family members who are living and sleeping there most of the time
- Anyone staying in your home on April 1 and has no usual home elsewhere
- Roommates and anyone renting a space in your home
- All children who live in your home, including foster children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and the children of friends (even if they are living with you temporarily).
- Count college students only if they live at home. If they live on campus, they will be counted there.
- Children who split their time between homes, if they are living with you on April 1, 2020.
- Newborn babies, even those who are born on April 1, 2020, or who are still in the hospital on this date.
Have a special circumstance? Check out the U.S. Census Bureau’s website for more guidance.
Are My Responses Safe & Secure?
The U.S. Census Bureau is serious about protecting your data. In fact, Census workers are bound by law to protect your information. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be vigilant about frauds and scams when participating in the 2020 Census. The Census Bureau will not email you requesting your participation in the 2020 Census or contact you on behalf of a political party. Whether on the phone, by email or in person, the Census Bureau will NEVER ask you for:
- Your Social Security Number
- Money or donations
- Your bank or credit card numbers
Ask for a valid ID badge, which shows the worker’s photo, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date. Still have doubts about their identity? You can call 1-800-923-8282 to speak with a Census Bureau representative.
What Questions Are Asked on the 2020 Census?
Depending on how many people live in your household, the U.S. Census won’t take long to complete. There are 9 questions for the person filling out the form, and 7 questions about each person living in your household. Along with the basics of name, gender and age, the Census asks people about their ethnicity and race, how they’re related to others in the household, and whether your place is paid-off, mortgaged, rented or provided free of charge.
View a sample of the Census form at uaex.edu/census
What Are Resources & Tools to Educate My Community?
The Community, Professional and Economic Development Unit's website features tools and resources from the U.S. Census Bureau and other organizations working to get the word out about the importance of participating in the 2020 Census. Find out more by visiting uaex.edu/census or by contacting Emily Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 501-671-2138.