The US Constitution mandates that the federal government count the entire population living in the country once every 10 years. April 1, 2020 is the date of the next US Census (the date by which the count is to be completed).
Responding to the census is important. The population data collected is used to divvy up billions of dollars in federal funding to states and municipalities. It affects how much federal money your community receives for healthcare initiatives, fire and police departments, public schools, infrastructure, and more. It also determines how many seats each state gets in the US House of Representatives, and it’s used to draw district maps for State Congress.
Every single person residing in the US should be counted in the census. Only basic information is collected. No personal information is ever shared with any other government agency or organization, and it cannot ever be used against respondents. Total confidentiality is guaranteed by law.
US Census accessibility for people with disabilities may be a concern. The Census Bureau takes many steps to ensure that everyone can respond to the census and be counted. The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) has even partnered with the Census Bureau to help ensure that people with disabilities are counted.
How Do You Respond to the US Census?
Most households will receive an invitation in the mail to respond to the census, and it will have detailed instructions for how to do so. In most cases, there will be an option to respond online, and everyone also has the option to respond by mail or phone, or in person.
A few reminders will be sent out to those who don’t respond. If these don’t get a response, a census taker will visit the home to get a response in person.
People residing in various types of group living situations will not be approached directly for the count. Instead, they’ll be counted through the Group Quarters process. Census staff works with facility administrators to acquire an accurate count.
Census Accessibility for People with Disabilities
- To promote 2020 US Census accessibility for people with disabilities, here are some of the options made available:
- The Census Bureau will ensure that the site for online responses meets all of the most recent web accessibility guidelines. For example, it will be operable without a mouse, compatible with assistive technologies, and available with a video guide in American Sign Language.
- Anyone can request an in-person visit by a census taker who communicates in American Sign Language.
- People can respond by phone or ask questions about the census via a phone line using TDD/TTY technology.
- Braille and large-print guides are available for completing the census questionnaire in hardcopy format via mail.
- Other assistance is available should you need it to respond to the census. You may call (844) 330-2020 for help in English, (844) 468-2020 for help in Spanish, or (844) 467-2020 for an English-language line using TDD/TTY technology.