Note: Much of this information is taken from the official U.S. Government website about the 2020 Census: https://2020census.gov.
The 2020 Census will determine congressional representation, inform hundreds of billions in federal funding, and provide data that will impact communities for the next decade. By law, all census responses are completely confidential, and your personal information can not be shared with any law enforcement agencies.
Why the Census is Important
The results are used to determine how much funding local communities receive for key public services and how many seats each state gets in Congress. State and local officials also use census counts to draw boundaries for congressional, state legislative, and school districts.
How Your Information is Protected
While you are required by law to participate, the Census Bureau is bound by Title 13 of the U.S. Code to keep your information confidential. Your responses are used only to produce statistics. 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.
What You Can Do
- Answer the Census when you’re contacted.
- Encourage your family, friends, and acquaintances to answer, too. (Send them to this page to find basic information and links to the 2020 Census and the volunteer statewide Texas Counts effort.)
- Become a partner organization to help spread the word in your community. Partners commit to reaching out to their members, employees, volunteers, customers, and stakeholders to let them know that completing the 2020 Census is safe, easy, and important. Find more about partner organizations here.
- Get involved in Texas Counts, a statewide collaborative effort working to engage cross-sector leaders and organizations to leverage, amplify, and share resources to help get out the count in Texas. Sign up to be a Census Champion! (See more in the “What About Texas?” section below.)
What is the Census?
The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and your community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data.
The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.
How Does the Census Affect Representation?
The census helps distribute the 435 seats in the House of Representatives among the 50 states. Small states get one seat, and larger states get more (based on population). An accurate count of the population helps your state get the right amount of seats.
How Does the Census Affect Federal Funding?
The results of the 2020 Census will inform decisions about allocating hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding to communities across the country—for hospitals, fire departments, school lunch programs, and other critical programs and services. Here’s an example (children’s nutrition).
How Does the Census Affect Business Decisions?
The 2020 Census will be valuable to businesses, as the results will provide a rich set of data on the communities they serve, including population trends and growth projections. Business owners rely on census results to make decisions, such as where to open new stores, restaurants, factories, or offices, where to expand operations, where to recruit employees, and which products and services to offer. Here’s one example (public/private space designer).
And another (housing advocate).
WHAT ABOUT TEXAS?
Note: The information in this section is taken from the Texas Counts website: http://texascounts.org/
Texas Counts is a state-wide collaborative effort working to engage cross-sector leaders and organizations to leverage, amplify, and share resources to promote the 2020 Census. Texas Counts serves a partner, connector, and hub for “get out the count” efforts in Texas.
Why the Census Matters to Texas
Potential cost over 10 years of just 1% undercount.
Potential gain in US House seats
The 2020 Census is important for the future of our families, communities, and State. We must ensure Texas receives the congressional representation, funding, and information we need to thrive for the next decade. The Census is our chance to participate in our democracy and say, “I Count!”
Census Challenges in Texas
Reporting an accurate count is extremely important for the well-being of all Texans; however, getting an accurate count faces many challenges.
- The 2020 Census has not been fully funded. This lack of funding has forced the Census Bureau to cancel important tests meant to improve response rates, efficiency, and accuracy of the questionnaire. In addition, this has limited outreach efforts to promote the Census and engage communities.
- For the first time, the Census Bureau will invite nearly all Texas residents to respond online. 1 in 4 rural residents lacks access to broadband internet at home — and fears of cybersecurity threats could amplify people’s concerns about privacy. Mail-in and phone response options will still be available, but residents must request them.
- The citizenship question will not be on the 2020 Census. The Supreme Court rejected the rationale for its addition, and the Executive branch will no longer pursue it. However, the question has intensified a lingering climate of fear, one that may discourage immigrant households—even ones with mixed status or legal permanent residents—from participating in the Census.
- While get-out-the-count efforts are underway across Texas, many communities lack the resources and support they need to ensure a complete count. Currently, the state does not have a state-sponsored complete count committee nor have they put any money towards the count.
|March 12-20||Households begin receiving mail with info about how to respond to the Census.|
|March 30-April 1||Census Bureau will count people experiencing homelessness.|
|By this date every home should have received an invitation to participate in the Census.|
|April||Census takers will begin visiting college students who live on campus, people living in senior centers, and others who live among large groups of people.|
|May-July||Census takers will begin visiting homes that haven't yet responded.|
|How Can You Verify That Someone Is a Census Worker? Census takers will visit homes in April to conduct quality check interviews, and then in mid-May to help collect responses. 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.|
|December||The Census Bureau will deliver apportionment counts to the President and Congress.|
|March 31, 2021||The Census Bureau will send redistricting counts to states. This information is used to redraw legislative districts based on population changes.|
These outreach materials (posters, handouts, etc.) and more are available at https://2020census.gov/en/partners/outreach-materials.html#dd637626309-co