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2020 Census: Simple Questions that Help us All

In March 2020, every household across the United States will be invited to fill out the 2020 Census online, by phone or by mail. The information collected by this survey will be used to determine congressional representation, help businesses and local governments understand their community, and distribute more than $675 billion in Federal funds every year. The questions themselves are simple. The household member who fills out the form is asked:

• How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment or mobile home?

• Were there any additional people staying here on April 1, 2020 that you did not include in question 1?

• Is this house, apartment or mobile home owned by an occupant free and clear? Owned with a mortgage? Rented? Or occupied without paying rent?

• What is your telephone number?

Then for each person in that home, the following questions are asked:

• First and last name, sex (male or female), age, and date of birth.

• Is that person of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin? Four “Yes” options to indicate heritage, or “No”.

• What is that person’s race? There are fifteen check-box options and spaces to designate a more specific heritage (White, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Chinese, Vietnamese, Native Hawaiian, Filipino, Korean, Samoan, Asian Indian, Japanese, Chamorro, Other Asian, Other Pacific Islander, or Some Other Race).

For each person after the first, two additional questions are asked:

• Does this person usually live or stay somewhere else? Eight “Yes” options or “No”.

• How is this person related to the householder? Sixteen options including “Non-relative”

This works out to about seven questions per household member, plus four about the household as a whole. All of the answers collected in an area are combined for statistical use. Individual responses cannot be shared with law enforcement, ICE, DEA, landlords, courts or anyone until 72 years have passed, and then they become available for historical and genealogical research.

Visit 2020census.gov for more information.