The 2020 Census is underway and households across America are responding every day. In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. Census Bureau has adjusted 2020 Census operations in order to:
- Protect the health and safety of Census Bureau employees and the American public.
- Implement guidance from federal, state, and local health authorities.
- Ensure a complete and accurate count of all communities.
It is in the Constitution! The U.S. government has conducted this population survey every 10 years since 1790. The information gathered during the Census gives a clear picture of the nation and its people and will inform decisions that will affect our everyday lives for years to come.
When you fill out the census, you help make decisions about:
- Representation: The number of seats a state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the districts for state government.
- Funding: How to distribute approximately $675 billion in federal funding to local communities each year.
- Planning: The creation and upkeep of local services such as roads, schools, hospitals, senior centers, emergency services, and libraries.
- Business: The creation of factories, business headquarters, and stores, as well as the ability to recruit employees and conduct market research.
In 2020, the United States Census will be conducted primarily online for the first time, but you can still respond by phone or paper form as well. The video below teaches viewers about the census.
Already got your invitation and are ready to respond? Click here to respond to the Census online.
Timeline has been updated to reflect operations that have been extended and delayed due to COVID-19 as of March 30, 2020.
|March 12 - August 14||Self-Response Operation: Households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond. The public is strongly encouraged to respond online. (Options for responding by phone or mail are also available.)|
|April 1||Census Day is observed nationwide! By this date, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrives, you should respond for your home in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail. When you respond to the census, you’ll tell the Census Bureau where you live as of April 1, 2020.|
|April 16 - June 19||Group Quarters Enumeration: Census takers will begin visiting college students who live on campus, people living in senior centers, and others who live among large groups of people. Facilities are strongly encouraged to choose an option for counting their residents that requires less in-person contact.|
|April 23 - May 18||Enumeration of Transitory Locations: Census takers count people staying at campgrounds, RV parks, marinas, and hotels if they do not usually live elsewhere.|
|April 29 - May 1||Service Based Enumeration: The Census Bureau will count people who are experiencing homelessness over these three days. As part of this process, the Census Bureau counts people in shelters, at soup kitchens and mobile food vans, on the streets, and at non-sheltered, outdoor locations such as tent encampments.|
|May 1||Enumeration of People Experiencing Homelessness Outdoors: Census takers will count people under bridges, in parks, in all-night businesses, etc.|
|May 7 - August 14||Early Nonresponse Followup: Census takers will follow up with households that haven’t responded yet around some colleges and universities.|
|May 28 - August 14||Nonresponse Followup: Census takers will interview households in person that have not responded online, by phone, or by mail.|
|August 14||Last day for households to self-respond - Extended from July 31|
|December||Deliver Apportionment Counts to the President: By law, the Census Bureau will deliver each state’s population total, which determines its number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.|
Who is counted during the Census?
The Census Bureau includes every person living in the U.S. — regardless of citizenship or immigration status. International visitors on vacation or work trips to the U.S. during the census are not included. Residents are counted at the address where they usually live and sleep.
How do I respond to the Census?
You can respond to the census online, by phone or on a paper questionnaire. The online and phone questionnaire will be available in 13 languages. You can still complete a paper form, but these forms will only be available in English and bilingual English-Spanish.
You can respond to the Census in one of three ways:
- On the phone: For the first time, 1-800 numbers will be available to give the response over the phone.
- In writing: A paper form will be mailed to each household.
- Online: For the first time in history, there will be the option to fill out the Census online.
This video teaches viewers how to complete the Census online.
How can the Moline Public Library help?*
In addition to be able to provide helpful information on this web page and in the form of printed handouts, for the first time you can even respond to the Census at the library through the new, online response option!
Self Response Operation:
March 12 - April 30
- Tablet/laptop designated specifically for responding to the Census online - NO LIBRARY CARD REQUIRED!
- Free access to our usual public, Internet computers for anyone with an Illinois library card
- Free Wi-Fi for anyone wishing to connect and respond to the Census through their wireless, mobile device
- Census Kits**, containing helpful printed information on the 2020 Census and a Wi-Fi hotspot (normal hotspot check-out conditions apply) available for check-out
*In light of COVID-19 concerns the Moline Public Library is closed to the public and all programs and Census activities at the Library are postponed until further notice.
**Census tablets and kits generously funded by Illinois Public Health Association.
What kind of questions are on the Census questionnaire?
Here is a sample form for you to see for yourself.
How long does it take?
The questionnaire takes about 10 minutes to complete.
What if I don’t respond?
Everyone living in the United States is required to be counted as part of the Census. If you are unable to respond online or by phone, or choose not to, you will receive a paper questionnaire you can mail back. If you don’t respond to the paper questionnaire, you will receive a visit from a census worker.
Do I have to answer every question?
You can skip questions and submit an incomplete census form and still be included in the head count, but returning a partially filled-out questionnaire may result in a follow-up phone call or visit from a census worker and could even result in a fine.
Are my answers private and secure?
Information you submit through the census form (either online, over the phone 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. It is actually against federal law to do so.
The Census Bureau is using a new privacy protection system, in addition to the safeguards it already used, to further protect the privacy of respondents.
Please also know that the Census Bureau will NEVER ask you for:
- Your Social Security number
- Money or donations
- Anything on behalf of a political party
- Your bank or credit card account numbers
Please remember to always use caution before giving out any personal information. Click here to view a sample census invitation. Census invitations will be mailed in mid-March. If you receive a census invitation before this, or your invitation looks significantly different from this sample, it may be a scam.
What you can do if you suspect fraudulent activity:
- If you get mail:
- If someone calls your household to complete a survey:
- Call the National Processing Center to verify the caller is a Census Bureau employee
- If someone visits your residence to complete a survey:
- Check first for a valid U.S. Census Bureau ID badge
- If you are still unsure then call the Regional Office for your state to verify you are in a legitimate survey and the visitor is a Census Bureau employee
- If you get an e-mail and think it is bogus:
- Do not reply, do not click on any links, and do not open any attachments
- Forward the e-mail or website URL to the Census Bureau at email@example.com
- Delete the message. We will investigate and notify you of the findings.
For more info go to census.gov/privacy
Where do I go for more information?
- 2020 Census Website
- Census Help: FAQ
- Avoiding Fraud and Scams
- Fighting Census Rumors
- Learning More About the Technology Used in the 2020 Census
- 2020 Census At A Glance: A Quick Overview of Key Information
- 230 Years and Counting: The 1790 Census Compared to Today
- Census Bureau Call Center: 1-800-923-8282