Census Quick Facts

Where will it happen?

The Census will be taken all across the United States. All 50 states in the U.S.A., Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands will count everyone alive on April 1, 2020.

When did it start?

When the United States Constitution was written in 1787, it mandated that a Census be taken every ten years under Article 1, Section 2:

"Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States..., according to their respective Numbers, ... .The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years."

A sample copy of 2020 Census Questionnaire Page 1
U.S. Census Bureau

The first enumeration was taken in 1790. The most recent Census was done in 2010. On Census Day, April 1, 2010, there were 308,745,538 people living in the United States. That was a 9.7 percent increase from the 2000 Census when there was 281,421,906 people in the United States.

What is it?

The Census is a questionnaire that asks about the number of people living in the United States. Knowing the number of people in a city, county, or the whole state allows for the planning of day-to-day operations, the future, and even emergencies.

The personal information that you provide on the Census form is protected under Title 13 of the U.S. Code. It sets the fines and prison penalties (up to a fine of $250,000 and 5 years in federal prison) for the illegal taking, sharing, or use of private information. In addition, "The 72-Year Rule" was set under Public Law 95-416. The rule states that after 72 years, the Census information can be released to the general public. Records from the 2020 Census will be released in the year 2092.

The questions on the 2020 Census will ask how many people live in the residence; if the home is rented, owned, or other; and a phone number to contact you only in the case of official Census Bureau business.

►To view the sample 2020 Census questionnaire, click HERE. To view the online 2020 Census questionnaire, watch the U.S. Census Bureau's video to the left.

How is it done?

The method that the Census has been taken with has changed with the size of the United States' population and the introduction of new technology. In 2020, the U.S. Census will be offered in three formats: online, over the phone, or by mail. For the first time, the primary format will be online. The Census will also be available to be completed over the phone or by mail with the standard questionnaire.

A list of languages supported by the Census for different methods of completion. See page on Language Support for more information on specific languages listed in Graphic..

Language Support

The Census offers multiple options for completing the questionnaire in non-English languages to ensure a complete and accurate count.

If you do not complete your form in one of the three ways listed above, an enumerator (a U.S. Census Bureau employee) will visit the residence up to six times to attempt to help you complete your Census form. They will have proper identification to ensure that you know they are with the U.S. Census Bureau, and they will only ask questions pertaining to the Census questionnaire. 

How can you verify that someone is a Census worker?

If someone visits your home to collect information for the 2020 Census, you can do the following to verify their identity:

  • First, check to make sure that they have a valid ID badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date.
  • If you still have questions about their identity, you can contact the Atlanta Regional Census Office to speak with a Census Bureau representative. Their contact information is:
    • 101 Marietta Street, NW, Suite 3200
      Atlanta, GA 30303-2700
    • (404) 730-3832 or 1-800-424-6974
    • FAX: (404) 730-3835
    • TDD: (404) 730-3963
    • E-mail: Atlanta.Regional.Office@census.gov

When does it happen?

April 1, 2020 is Census Day. While you can fill out your Census form on this day, it is encouraged that you do so before. The first mailers inviting people to complete their Census will be sent out in mid-March. Enumerators will begin knocking on the doors of those who do not self-respond in May 2020. Enumerators will make up to six attempts to help people complete their Census.

Completing your Census early will ensure that an enumerator will not visit your residence.

►Check out our Timeline Page detailing the multi-year process of preparing for the 2020 Census.