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Census 2020:  

What is the census?

Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau counts everyone who lives in this country — everyone, regardless of age or citizenship. It’s written in the Constitution. 

Why does it matter?

The census count is used to determine how many representatives each state will have in Congress and to decide how federal funding is fairly distributed to states and communities — for important services and infrastructure including hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, highways, and emergency response. The 2020 Census determines how the federal government spends tax dollars, every year for the next 10 years. If our state's count is not complete and correct, we could lose out on our fair share of political power and federal funding for the next 10 years. 

How do I respond?

Your household should have received an invitation already. If you did not — or you do not have it handy — don't worry. You can still respond by using your home address. You can answer online, by telephone, or by mail.

  • Online:
  • Telephone: 1-844-330-2020
  • Mail: If you have not received a paper form yet, you will get one in the mail approximately April 8–16.

When do I respond?

Now! Counting in our area began March 12 and continues through August 14. The April 1 "Census Day" date is used to call attention to the count and for decision-making purposes about who lives in your home. ‚Äč

  • April 8–16: If your household hasn't responded yet, you will get a reminder letter and paper questionnaire in the mail. You can still respond online or by telephone.
  • April 20–27: A final reminder postcard lets you know that a census worker from your community will visit your address to help you complete the form. You can still respond online or by telephone.
  • May: If your household hasn't responded yet, a census worker will come to your home to help. They will keep trying to reach you until a response is received. You can still respond online or by telephone. 
  • August 14: Last day to respond online, by phone, or by mail.

Note: Some dates may be later due to COVID-19 public health measures. 

Who should I count?

You should count everyone who usually lives at your address as of April 1, 2020. That includes babies, relatives or friends with you temporarily (and who won't be counted elsewhere). Do not count college students who usually live on campus, even if they have been sent home this semester due to COVID-19 precautions.

How long does it take to fill out the census form?

The questionnaire takes about 10 minutes to complete. (Only 1 form needs to be completed for each household.)

What questions will I be asked?

The census asks:

  • how many people live in your home (including babies, non-citizens, and people who are not related to you but are living in your home)
  • the age of each person
  • the race and ethnic identity of each person
  • the relationship of each person to the person completing the form (for example, spouse, child, parent, aunt/uncle, friend, boarder, etc.). 
  • whether you own or rent your home

Will I be asked about citizenship?

No. The 2020 Census does not include any questions about citizenship. It is important that you complete the census regardless of your immigration status. Everyone deserves to be counted, and your information will be kept confidential.

What about special situations?

In general, you should count yourself where you live and sleep most of the time. If you are filling out the census form for your home, pay special attention if you or someone living in your household is a...

  • newborn or child: Count any children (including newborns) who usually live and sleep at your home — even if they’re not your own. If they split time evenly between households, count them where they are on April 1, 2020.
  • recent mover: Count yourself at your new address if you moved in by April 1, 2020.
  • renter: Count yourself where you live. Don’t forget family and roommates.
  • college student: Students in university housing such as a dorm are counted by the university (see "group facility," below) Students who live in private housing like an off-campus apartment must count themselves and their roommates where they live during the school year, even if they go home for school breaks and even if they have returned to your home this year due to COVID-19. If they usually live at school, they should be counted at school. This includes international students.
  • resident of a group facility: If you live in a college dorm, military barracks, group home, shelter, any kind of long-term care facility, or a correctional facility, a U.S. Census Bureau employee will work with a representative from your building to ensure you are counted.
  • service member: If you don’t live in military barracks and you’re not deployed or stationed outside the United States, count yourself where you live and sleep most of the time, whether on or off base.

Is my information safe?

Yes! Information you submit through the census form (online, over the telephone, or on paper) is kept confidential by the U.S. Census Bureau, which is a nonpartisan government agency. The Census Bureau will never share information with immigration enforcement agencies or law enforcement agencies.

By law, census information is not made public until 72 years after it is taken. That means that your answers in 2020 will not be released until 2092 — becoming part of the nation's historical records, for research and genealogical purposes.

The Census Bureau will never ask you for:

  • Social Security number
  • Money or donations
  • Anything about politics
  • Your bank or credit card account number

Can I respond on a smartphone or tablet?

Yes, the website works on smartphones and tablets.

Thank you to Schaumburg Township District Library and Oak Park Public Library for creating and sharing much of this content, compiled from information available at and


What if I need help in a language other than English?

Paper forms are available in English and Spanish only. The online and telephone questionnaires are available in 13 languages. The Census 2020 info site is available in 59 languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Tamil, and Hindi.

How do I get help by phone?

Call these toll-free numbers for assistance or to respond to the 2020 Census by phone.

English and TDD: 844-330-2020
Spanish: 844-468-2020
Chinese (Mandarin): 844-391-2020
Chinese (Cantonese): 844-398-2020
Vietnamese: 844-461-2020
Korean: 844-392-2020
Russian: 844-417-2020
Arabic: 844-416-2020
Tagalog: 844-478-2020
Polish: 844-479-2020
French: 844-494-2020
Haitian Creole: 844-477-2020
Portuguese: 844-474-2020
Japanese: 844-460-2020

Telephone Display Device (TDD) 


Get help from the library

Desk staff are prepared to answer your questions: contact the library.


Learn more

Find out more about why the census matters, what to expect when the count begins, and how to get involved:

Ve la información sobre el censo en español.

  • census security: Find out about the technology behind the census and why it's secure.

  • A collaboration among many national organizations and community partners to make sure that the 2020 Census is fair and accurate.