The US Census is now underway. The 2020 Census invitation letters to participate began rolling out in the mail on March 12th. It has been mailed to most every household in the United States.
Responses to the 2020 Census are confidential and protected by law and can only be used to produce statistics. Response rate tracking data by locality can be found on the NOVA Region Dashboard.
Census results shape the future of communities, as census data informs how billions of dollars in federal funds are distributed for health clinics. Census results shape the future of communities, as census data informs how billions of dollars in federal funds are distributed for health clinics, school lunch programs, disaster recovery initiatives, and other critical programs and services for the next 10 years. It is critical that every household in our region and Commonwealth complete their census form.
Responding and Timeline
The Census can be completed on-line, via phone or mail.
The timeline was amended by the U.S. Census Bureau due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Protection and the health and stafety of Census Bureau staff and the public is of utmost importance. The latest timeline follows.
March - May
Initial self-responding on-line, via phone or mail. Self-responding during this time frame will save tax payers thousands of dollars, that otherwise will be spent on sending census takers to your house. Self-responding will also protect you and Census Bureau staff from the coronavirus.
To track Northern Virginia’s 2020 self-response rates by locality please visit the Northern Virginia Dashboard.
May 28 - August 14
Census takers will interview households in person that have not responded online, by phone, or by mail. Households can also can continue to respond online.
If someone visits your home to collect information for the 2020 Census, check to make sure that they have a valid ID badge, with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. Census workers may also carry Census Bureau bags and other equipment with the Census Bureau logo. If you still have questions about their identity, you can contact your Regional Census Center to speak with a Census Bureau representative.
Your Privacy and Security
The Census Bureau is bound by Title 13 of the U.S. Code to keep your information confidential.
Under Title 13, the Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about you, your home, or your business, even to law enforcement agencies. The law ensures that your private data is protected and that your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court. The answers you provide are used only to produce statistics. You are kept anonymous: The Census Bureau is not permitted to publicly release your responses in any way that could identify you or anyone else in your home.
The Census Will Never Ask Certain Questions
During the 2020 Census, 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.
Additionally, there is no citizenship question on the 2020 Census.
If someone claiming to be from the Census Bureau contacts you via email or phone and asks you for one of these things, it’s a scam, and you should not cooperate. For more information, visit Avoiding Fraud and Scams.
If you still have questions about their identity, you can contact your Regional Census Center to speak with a Census Bureau representative
Importance of the Data
Over the next decade, lawmakers, business owners, and many others will use 2020 Census data to make critical decisions. The results will show where communities need new schools, new clinics, new roads, and more services for families, older adults, and children. The results will also inform how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated to more than 100 programs, including Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP.
It’s About Fair Representation
Every 10 Years, the results of the census are used to reapportion the House of Representatives, determining how many seats each state including Virginia gets.
It’s in the Constitution
The U.S. Constitution mandates that everyone in the country be counted every 10 years. The first census was in 1790 and the first Administrator was Thomas Jefferson.
It’s About $675 Billion
The distribution of more than $675 billion in federal funds, grants and support to communities like Arlington is based on census data. That money is spent on schools, hospitals, roads, public works and other vital programs.
It’s About Redistricting
After each decade’s census, state officials redraw the boundaries of the congressional and state legislative districts in their states to account for population shifts.
For detailed information about the Census please visit their web site.
You can sign up here to receive notices from the Census Bureau.