The United States census takes place every 10 years, with the goal being to count how many people are residing nationwide and in what locations.
The information collected serves an important purpose, because billions of federal dollars are dispersed, for everything from transportation projects to education, based on population and demographics. It’s important that every adult take time and make sure they are counted in the 2020 census. Here are a few tips to make sure that the count is as close to accurate as possible.
• Check the mail – At this point, nearly every household has received at least one invite or reminder to respond to the census with instructions on how to reply by phone, mail or online.
• Go online – Even if a paper reminder has not arrived, residents can respond to the census online at www.2020census.gov.
• Don’t worry about a lost invitation – Each invitation to take the census comes with an individual ID number, but if an invitation has been lost or thrown away, the respondent can use his or her address to respond online.
• English as a second language – The census can be completed in any of 12 languages online or over the telephone.
• No pencils – If a resident decides to respond using a traditional paper census questionnaire, that document must be filled out in blue or black ink – not pencil.
• Determining “person one” – If you are the only person in your home, you are person one on the census by default. If living with others, person one is traditionally whoever’s name is on the mortgage/rental agreement assuming they are over 15 years of age.
• Count everyone – It’s important to count everyone who lives in a home, including children and residents under the age of 18.
• Avoid a knock on the door – Completing the census either by mail, on the phone or online means that a census taker will not come to your home later in the year.
The census isn’t a taxing undertaking and can be completed in just a few minutes, but its impact is felt for the next 10 years. It’s well worth the time and effort.