Key Messages

The following key messages and talking points were developed to help you communicate the benefits and importance of participating in the 2020 Census. These messages can be tailored to use with a variety of audiences.

What is the 2020 Census?

The 2020 Census counts every person living in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories.  The United States has counted its population every 10 years since the first census in 1790.

The 2020 Census will be the first year you can fill out your census online. The census website is safe, secure and confidential.

Why is this count conducted?

The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and your community.

The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.

It's also in the Constitution: Article 1, Section 2, mandates that the country conduct a count of its population once every 10 years. The 2020 Census will mark the 24th time that the country has counted its population since 1790.

Based on the George Washington University report Counting for Dollars 2020:

Georgia receives more than $2,300 per person annually in funding directly related to Census-count allocations. Each 1% undercount would have cost Georgia an estimated ~$68.6 million in Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) in FY2016, or $708 per person.

What does that mean for Georgia?

The federal government distributes over $675 billion dollars to states based on the population for healthcare, food, education, and roads. Key programs using census data to drive funding are:

  • Federal Medical Assistance Programs (FMAP)
  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
  • Medicare Part B
  • Highway Planning and Construction
  • The Federal Pell Grant Program

Georgia’s rural assistance programs received more than $1.4 billion annually in the federal FY 2016.

What does this mean for you and your family?

Participating in the census is required by law, even if you recently completed another survey from the Census Bureau. A complete and accurate count is critical for you and your community, because the results of the 2020 Census will affect community funding, congressional representation, and more.

Census data helps with the allocation of federal funding across 55 programs, including the National School Lunch Program, federal student loan programs, and many more.

For every person counted, from infants to young children to older adults, the State of Georgia receives more than $2,300 from the federal government. This amount adds up to more than $20 billion annually towards programs that benefit Georgians like you. The more people counted, the more money each community stands to receive.

How can you respond?

There are three ways to respond to the 2020 Census.

By April 1, 2020, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. You will have three options for responding:

  • Online
  • By phone
  • By mail

The 2020 Census marks the first time you'll have the option to respond online. You can also respond using a mobile device. If you do not have access to a computer or internet, please visit your local library.

What if I don’t speak English?

You can respond to the census online or over the phone in 13 languages including Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Russian, Arabic, French, Haitian Creole, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, and Tagalog.

Who Counts?

If you are filling out the census for your home, you should count everyone who is living there as of April 1, 2020. This includes anyone who is living and sleeping there most of the time, including children.

Counting Children

It is important to remember to count any children who are living with you. This includes:

  • All children who live in your home, including grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and the children of friends.
  • Children who split their time between homes, if they are living with you on April 1, 2020.
  • Newborn babies, even those who are born on April 1, 2020, or who are still in the hospital on this date.

Counting College Students

It is important to remember how to count college students based on where they are living. This includes:

  • College students who are living at home should be counted at their home address.
  • College students who live away from home should count themselves at their on- or off- campus residence where they live most of the time.
  • U.S. college students living and attending college outside of the U.S. are not counted in the Census.
  • Foreign students living and attending college in the U.S. should be counted at their on- or off- campus residence where they live most of the time