On March 12, the U.S. Census Bureau began sending census invitations by mail to millions of American households. We strongly encourage our families and communities to be proactive to make sure that EVERYONE gets counted in the 2020 census—no matter where they were born, where they live, or how old they are.
Without an accurate count, Latino communities risk losing important public resources, including health and educational programs that are essential to the well-being and future of our children and families. The census is about representation. It’s about reminding ourselves and those around us that we live here, we work here, and that our communities and our country are stronger because of that.
Here is a list of what exactly people can expect, what they need to know, and what they should do:
- As explained in census invitation instructions, people will be able to self-respond to the census online (link to 2020Census.gov), by phone, or through the mail (paper questionnaire). With recent concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, we strongly encourage people to respond online or by phone as soon as possible to ensure they get counted and avoid the need for a visit from a census worker (for more information about protecting yourself from the virus, visit our blog).
- If folks prefer to respond via questionnaire, they can wait until they receive the questionnaire, which in most cases will happen in the month of April.
- Those who do not answer online, by phone, or by questionnaire, and those who do not answer all the questions, will have a census worker come to their homes in May to finalize the questionnaire.
- The census questionnaire is usually completed by one person per household, but information should be complete for ALL persons living in the household whether they are related or not (parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, lodgers, etc.). ALL children must be counted, regardless of age.
- The questionnaire will ask a few simple questions, including the number of people living in the household on April 1, 2020, the type of residence, and the sex, age, date of birth, and the ethnicity and race of each person living in the household. The Census will NOT ask about citizenship or immigration status, social security number, criminal background, bank or employment information, or use of public benefits. For a step-by-step guide for how to answer each question, please watch the video below:
- Confidentiality: The U.S. Census Bureau is bound by law to protect census answers and keep them strictly confidential. In fact, every employee takes an oath to protect census information for life. Under Title 13 of the U.S. code, the Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about you, your home, or your business, even to law enforcement agencies. The law ensures that Census data cannot be used against individuals by any government agency (including ICE or DHS) or court. Violating Title 13 is a federal crime, punishable by prison time and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
- Bilingual (Spanish and English) forms will be sent to areas with large Spanish-speaking populations; there will also be online and phone language assistance for non-English speakers answering the census. Folks will be able to answer in English, Spanish, or several other languages by phone or online (link to: https://2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond/responding-by-phone.html)
Those who need Spanish language assistance can also call the NALEO hotline 1-877-EL-CENSO or access the Census Bureau’s Spanish website.
- People who need assistance with computers, language access, or other issues can seek help at local libraries, schools, churches, and other events. Many of our UnidosUS Affiliates and partners across the country are providing outreach, education, and support for community members who need help with the census.
- We strongly encourage folks to act quickly and answer the 10-minute questionnaire, remembering to include all household members. It has never been easier to respond on your own and completing the census form early and online is the best way to avoid having an enumerator visit your home!
- We are all in this together, and Latinos—all 62.3 million of us—are a critical part of our nation. We will not be erased! Everyone must get counted!