It is in the Constitution! The U.S. government has conducted this population survey every 10 years since 1790. The information gathered during the Census gives a clear picture of the nation and its people and will inform decisions that will affect our everyday lives for years to come.
When you fill out the census, you help make decisions about:
- Representation: The number of seats a state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the districts for state government.
- Funding: How to distribute approximately $675 billion in federal funding to local communities each year.
- Planning: The creation and upkeep of local services such as roads, schools, hospitals, senior centers, emergency services, and libraries.
- Business: The creation of factories, business headquarters, and stores, as well as the ability to recruit employees and conduct market research.
In 2020, the United States Census will be conducted primarily online for the first time, but you can still respond by phone or paper form as well. The video below teaches viewers about the census.
Already got your invitation and are ready to respond? Click here to respond to the Census online.
|March 12 - April 30||Self-Response Operation: Households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone, or by mail.|
|March 30 - April 1||The Census Bureau will count people who are experiencing homelessness over these three days. As part of this process, the Census Bureau counts people in shelters, at soup kitchens and mobile food vans, on the streets, and at non-sheltered, outdoor locations such as tent encampments.|
|April 1||Census Day is observed nationwide. By this date, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrives, you should respond for your home in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail. When you respond to the census, you’ll tell the Census Bureau where you live as of April 1, 2020.|
|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. Census takers also begin conducting quality check interviews to help ensure an accurate count.|
|May - July||Census takers will begin visiting homes that haven’t responded to the 2020 Census to help make sure everyone is counted.|
|July 31||Last day for households to self-respond|
|December||The Census Bureau will deliver apportionment counts to the President and Congress as required by law.|
Who is counted during the Census?
The Census Bureau includes every person living in the U.S. — regardless of citizenship or immigration status. International visitors on vacation or work trips to the U.S. during the census are not included. Residents are counted at the address where they usually live and sleep.
How do I respond to the Census?
You can respond to the census online, by phone or on a paper questionnaire. The online and phone questionnaire will be available in 13 languages. You can still complete a paper form, but these forms will only be available in English and bilingual English-Spanish.
You can respond to the Census in one of three ways:
- On the phone: For the first time, 1-800 numbers will be available to give the response over the phone.
- In writing: A paper form will be mailed to each household.
- Online: For the first time in history, there will be the option to fill out the Census online.
This video teaches viewers how to complete the Census online.
How can the Moline Public Library help?
In addition to be able to provide helpful information on this web page and in the form of printed handouts, for the first time you can even respond to the Census at the library through the new, online response option!
Self Response Operation: March 12 - April 30
- Tablet/laptop designated specifically for responding to the Census online - NO LIBRARY CARD REQUIRED!
- Free access to our usual public, Internet computers for anyone with an Illinois library card
- Free Wi-Fi for anyone wishing to connect and respond to the Census through their wireless, mobile device
- Census Kits*, containing helpful printed information on the 2020 Census and a Wi-Fi hotspot (normal hotspot check-out conditions apply) available for check-out
Census Day: April 1**
- The 2nd Floor Program room will be used specifically for those responding to the Census, with staff on hand to provide assistance
- Translators from World Relief will also be on hand to assist with potential problems due to language barriers
- All the resources listed above will still be available, plus additional tablets* available for public use in the 2nd Floor Program room
**In light of COVID-19 concerns and based on the local Complete Count Committee’s advisement, we will be postponing the Census Day April 1st kickoff at Moline Public Library.
What kind of questions are on the Census questionnaire?
Here is a sample form for you to see for yourself.
How long does it take?
The questionnaire takes about 10 minutes to complete.
What if I don’t respond?
Everyone living in the United States is required to be counted as part of the Census. If you are unable to respond online or by phone, or choose not to, you will receive a paper questionnaire you can mail back. If you don’t respond to the paper questionnaire, you will receive a visit from a census worker.
Do I have to answer every question?
You can skip questions and submit an incomplete census form and still be included in the head count, but returning a partially filled-out questionnaire may result in a follow-up phone call or visit from a census worker and could even result in a fine.
Are my answers private and secure?
Information you submit through the census form (either online, over the phone or on paper) is kept confidential by the U.S. Census Bureau, which is a nonpartisan government agency. The Census Bureau will never share information with immigration enforcement agencies or law enforcement agencies. It is actually against federal law to do so.
The Census Bureau is using a new privacy protection system, in addition to the safeguards it already used, to further protect the privacy of respondents.
Please also know that 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
Please remember to always use caution before giving out any personal information. Click here to view a sample census invitation. Census invitations will be mailed in mid-March. If you receive a census invitation before this, or your invitation looks significantly different from this sample, it may be a scam.
What you can do if you suspect fraudulent activity:
- If you get mail:
- If someone calls your household to complete a survey:
- Call the National Processing Center to verify the caller is a Census Bureau employee
- If someone visits your residence to complete a survey:
- Check first for a valid U.S. Census Bureau ID badge
- If you are still unsure then call the Regional Office for your state to verify you are in a legitimate survey and the visitor is a Census Bureau employee
- If you get an e-mail and think it is bogus:
- Do not reply, do not click on any links, and do not open any attachments
- Forward the e-mail or website URL to the Census Bureau at email@example.com
- Delete the message. We will investigate and notify you of the findings.
For more info go to census.gov/privacy
Where do I go for more information?
- 2020 Census Website
- Census Help: FAQ
- Avoiding Fraud and Scams
- Fighting Census Rumors
- Learning More About the Technology Used in the 2020 Census
- 2020 Census At A Glance: A Quick Overview of Key Information
- 230 Years and Counting: The 1790 Census Compared to Today
- Census Bureau Call Center: 1-800-923-8282