Every 10 years, since 1790, the United States has conducted a census to count the population of America, as mandated by our Constitution. Conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, data gathered will help to determine the number of seats each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives and how to redraw congressional and state legislative districts. Federal agencies also use the results of the Census to determine how to appropriately distribute more than $675 billion in funds each year.
By responding to the Census questionnaire, you can ensure that Illinois has a strong voice in Congress and gets its fair share of federal funds and support. At the local level, data from the Census will help communities plan for a variety of residential needs, such as new roads, schools, and emergency services. The Census questionnaire will include less than a dozen questions and every household will have the opportunity to respond either by mail, phone, or for the first time ever, online. Types of questions asked will be: how many people are living in a household, name(s), gender, age, race, etc.
The questionnaire will not ask for an individual’s Social Security number, nor will it include any inquiry about a person’s immigration or citizenship status. Federal law requires the U.S. Census Bureau to keep all information confidential and prohibits personal data from being published or used in any way other than to produce statistics.
While April 1st is officially designated as “Census Day”, the work begins a bit sooner than that. Between March 12 – 20th, households can expect an invitation in the mail to respond online to the 2020 Census. From March 16 – 24th, a reminder letter to respond will be mailed. If a household hasn’t responded by the end of March, then a reminder postcard will be mailed the first week of April. From April 8 – 16th, another reminder letter will be mailed along with a paper questionnaire. A final reminder postcard will be mailed April 20 – 27th if still no response by then.
Starting in May, Census workers will visit households who haven’t yet responded before the end of April. All workers visiting homes will have a valid ID badge with their photo and a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark. The U.S. Census Bureau is also looking to recruit thousands of temporary workers across the country to help make sure the entire population is counted.
For more information about the 2020 Census, or to apply for a job with the Census Bureau, visit their website at www.2020census.gov.