Every Californian Counts: Here's What You Need to Know About The 2020 Census

Every Californian Counts: Here's What You Need to Know About The 2020 Census

By Oliver Jenkyns March 24, 2020

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By now, there’s no doubt that you’ve heard about the 2020 U.S. Census, but do you really know what it is and why it matters? We’ve found the answers to all of your burning questions, so here’s everything you need to know about the United States population census. 

What Is the 2020 Census?

Essentially, the census is a count of every living person in the United States and the five inhabited U.S. territories: American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The U.S. Constitution mandates that a census be taken every decade. 

Who Runs the Census?

The United States Census is conducted by the nonpartisan U.S. Census Bureau, a government agency that is responsible for collecting the information from its citizens. 

Do I Really Have to Answer the Census?

Yes, all households are legally obligated to answer the questionnaire. 

When Should I Expect to Hear from the Census Bureau? 

Households should have received an invitation to respond to the 2020 census form via mail between March 12 and 20. You have the option to answer the questions online, by phone, or by mail—but each household should only respond once. Responses are due on April 1, 2020, and reflect your expected living situation as of that date. 

Why is The Census Data Important? 

The information collected from the census is used to determine how federal funds are distributed. It allows business owners, teachers, lawmakers, and others to have a better understanding of community needs, leading to better services, support, and products. In addition, it determines how cash is dispersed to fire departments, health clinics, schools, roadways, and other state and community resources—so it’s imperative to answer each question honestly.

Along with determining how resources should be distributed, the data dictates how many seats every state will receive in the House of Representatives; provides a comprehensive count of the country’s population; and helps delineate congressional and state legislative districts.

If this isn’t enough to convince you to contribute to the U.S. Census data, perhaps going down in history will: The population has been counted every 10 years since 1790, and this is your chance to stand proudly next to your favorite celebrities, presidents, and idols in the pages of history. 

Will Everyone Know How I Respond to The Census?

No. The U.S. Census Bureau is legally obligated to protect your answers, keep them confidential, and maintain anonymity. All responses will be used to produce statistics, but as private information, they will never be published or used against you in a court of law. 

Inspired to learn more about California’s laws? Check out the laws you should know for 2020 and the weirdest laws in the Golden State.

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