United States Census 2020

There's a lot at stake with Census 2020.

Standing up for the count is one of the most powerful things you can do to support yourself, your family, and your community.

Every 10 years, the federal government is required to count every person residing in the U.S. through a national census.  The next census is in 2020 and postcards with instructions will be mailed to the public in March 2020.

Why is counting everyone important?

The number of each states' congressional seats and Electoral College votes are determined every 10 years by census numbers.

The census also guides how $880 billion a year in federal funding is distributed for:

  • Public schools, school lunches, SNAP.
  • Medicare Part B, Section 8 projects, and vouchers.
  • WIC, Head Start, foster care.
  • Highways, public libraries, and other public services in local communities.

Also, demographic data derived from the census are used by businesses to determine where to build new supermarkets and by emergency responders after natural disasters to locate people.  With all that is at stake, we must all stand up and be counted.

When will the census count take place?

The Census will begin recording responses on April 1, 2020. For the first time, the Census Bureau will permit respondents to answer the survey online, by mail, or by phone.

Who should be counted?

Everyone! People of all ages, races, ethnicities, citizens, and noncitizens should be included in the survey count.

At Catholic Charities, we want to ensure that traditionally hard-to-count groups are included, such as:

  • Racial and ethnic minorities.
  • People who do not speak English.
  • Homeless individuals.
  • Undocumented immigrants.
  • College students and other young, mobile people.
  • Children.

Is Census data confidential?

Yes. Federal Law protects your information. Census responses are confidential and protected under Title 13 of the United States Code.

The Census Bureau will never share personal information with immigration or law enforcement agencies. Employees of the Census Bureau also swear a lifetime oath to protect respondent data.

It is against the law for any Census Bureau employee to disclose or publish any census or survey information that identifies an individual or business. This is true even for inter-agency communication; the FBI and other government entities do not have the legal right to access this information. As a result, the Census Bureau has one of the strongest confidentiality guarantees in the federal government.

For more information visit the Census Privacy and Confidentiality, or learn more about Title 13.


El Censo del 2020 y la Confidencialidad


Pledge to take 2020 census.

Catholic Charities is working to ensure that everyone stands up and is counted. Please help our efforts by pledging to take the census today.

Postal Code

Programs affected by Census response

Officials rely on census data to determine how much money each state should get for the following federally funded projects and programs:  

- Medical assistance, including Medi-Cal, Medicare Part B, and coverage for uninsured children.

- Nutrition assistance, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and the National School Lunch Program.

- Highway planning and construction. 

- Housing assistance, including Section 8, foster care, migrant housing, and public housing for the homeless.

- Education programs, including Head Start.

Source: Silicon Valley Community Foundation 


How will information for Census 2020 be collected?

  • For the 2020 Census, you can respond online, by mail, by phone, or through an in-person interview.
  • Starting in March 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau will begin to contact households through a series of mailings. Most people will receive a postcard with instructions on how to complete the questionnaire online or over the phone. Some might receive a paper form to mail back.

- In early May 2020, the Bureau will begin sending census workers (called enumerators) out to visit households who have not yet responded to gather the information in person.  

- The U.S. Census Bureau will also collect information from residents who are homeless, living in group quarters (like dorms, nursing homes, shelters), or transitory housing.

- The census questionnaire and other materials will be available in multiple languages. 


Other resources

San Mateo County Census 2020 Complete Count Committee

San Francisco Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs (OCEIA)

Marin County Census 2020 Complete Count Committee

US Census

Rock the Vote Video, We Count