The 2020 United States census, the 24th in the nation’s history, may have evolved greatly from the first installment in 1790, but the purpose of the once-a-decade exercise remains the same: ensuring all states, based on their population, have proper representation in Congress.
That’s critical for REALTORS®, who play a crucial role in helping shape real estate law at all levels of government—local, state, and federal. The census also has important consequences for every municipality in the country. Aside from determining boundaries of congressional and state legislative districts—and allocating congressional seats to each state—the census, through its demographic record keeping, also ensures that schools, hospitals, and local governments receive the resources they need.
For these reasons, it’s imperative that everyone in the U.S. participate in the 2020 census, which will begin April 1. It’s the only way to ensure a full and complete count of communities throughout the country, the National Association of REALTORS® says. NAR members—a 1.4 million strong force—can make a difference in getting the word out to their customers.
Below is a list of frequently asked questions to help REALTOR® Members participate in the 2020 census.
What is the Census?
The Census is a population counted that is mandated by the U.S. Constitution to take place every 10 years.
Why is it important?
The Census is important, because annually 1.5 trillion federal dollars is allocated to states and localities throughout the country for federal programs and operations. Completing the census survey means federal funds for roads, hospitals, businesses, libraries, and schools in your community. Also, the census is used to ensure that fair representation in Congress; for redistricting;
Who should complete the Census survey?
All persons living in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and the five (5) U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) should complete the census survey. This includes all children born on by April 1, 2020.
What questions are asked on the Census survey?
- How many people are living or staying at your home on April 1, 2020?
- What is the gender of each person living in your home?
- What is the race of each person living in your home?
- What is the age of each person living in your home?
- What is your relationship to each person living in your home?
- Is any person living in your home of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?
- Are you a renter or homeowner?
What information will never be requested.
The Census Bureau will never ask for:
- Social Security Numbers
- Bank or credit card information or account numbers
- Money or donations
- Anything on behalf of a political party
How can I respond to the Census survey?
Beginning in mid-march 2020, the Census survey can be completed by phone, by mail, or online at 2020census.gov. By mid-march, households throughout the country will receive an invitation by mail to complete the 2020 Census.
Is the Census survey only available in English?
No. The Census Bureau has created a language guide with information about in over 59 different languages.
Will my responses to the Census survey be confidential?
Yes. All personal information and responses provided to the Census Bureau is protected and must remain confidential under federal law. The information that you provide to the Census Bureau can only be used for statistical reporting and informational purposes only.
Also, no federal or state law enforcement agency can access or use your personal data at any time.
Is my data and information provided to the U.S. Census Bureau safe?
Yes. The Census Bureau has a robust cybersecurity program that incorporates industry best practices and federal security standards for encrypting data.
When should the Census survey be completed?
The Census survey is available for households to complete beginning in mid-March 2020, until June 30, 2020.
What is National Census Day?
April 1, 2020 is National Census Day, and is a designated for Census education and awareness. By this date, all U.S. households will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 census. For more information about National Census Day, visit 2020Census.gov.(link is external)
What government entity is responsible for the Census?
The U.S. Census Bureau, which is a bureau within of the U.S. Department of the Commerce is responsible for Census administration and collecting all responses.