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* Census 2020:  

What is the census?

Every 10 years, the census records everyone living in this country — everyone, regardless of age or citizenship. It’s written in the Constitution. And it comes in the form of an invitation or questionnaire that most households will receive in the mail by the end of March.

Why does it matter?

The population is counted to determine how many representatives each state will have in Congress and to decide how federal funding is distributed to states and communities — for essential services and infrastructure including hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, highways, and natural disaster response. The 2020 census will be the basis for how the federal government spends tax dollars, every year for the next ten years. Everyone needs to be counted — or the basis for representation and spending will be incorrect for the next 10 years. 

How and when do I respond?

Most households will have received invitations by late March. You can choose to respond online, by telephone, or by mail. You'll count everyone who 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), the elderly...anyone living at your address on April 1. 

  • Through March 24: Invitations arrive in mailboxes.
  • March 26–April 3: A reminder postcard arrives if you haven't yet responded to the earlier invitation.
  • April 8–16: If your household hasn't responded yet, a reminder letter and paper questionnaire arrive in the mail.
  • 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.
  • May: In-person visits begin.
  • July 31: Last day to respond, online, by phone, or by mail.

Note: At present, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the census 2020 is continuing. If the timetable changes, the library will update this page.

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 are living in your household on April 1 (including babies and people who may not have a permanent address, who are living or staying in your home)
  • the relationship of household members to the person completing the form (for example, spouse, child, parent, aunt/uncle, friend, boarder, etc.). 
  • whether the home is owned or rented
  • household members' ages
  • household members' races or ethnic identities

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 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. 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 the 1950 census records will be released in April 2022 — 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 on behalf of a political party
  • Your bank or credit card account number

Can I respond on a smartphone or tablet?

Yes, the online form will be optimized for portable devices.

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 census.gov and 2020census.gov.

Get help

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) 

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.

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

  • Lake County Complete Count Committee: Staff at your public library are active members of local and regional organizing groups established to facilitate a complete and accurate count for your community.