What happens during Census 2020?

Starting in January 2020 the U.S. Census Bureau plans to send a letter or a door knocker to every U.S. household. Most households can start participating around mid-March when letters with instructions are scheduled to be sent to 95 percent of homes around the country.

The 2020 count will be the first one to allow all U.S. households to respond online. Paper forms will still be available, and, for the first time, you can call 1-800 numbers to give responses over the phone. Households that do not respond by early April 2020 may start receiving visits from door knockers trained to conduct census interviews and collect responses using smartphones.

Why is the census conducted? 

It's part of a once-a-decade tradition of counting every person living in the U.S. The census is required by the U.S. Constitution, which has called for an "actual enumeration" once a decade since 1790. The 2020 population numbers will shape how political power and federal tax dollars are shared in the U.S over the next 10 years. The number of congressional seats and Electoral College votes each state gets are determined by census numbers. They also guide how an estimated $880 billion a year in federal funding is distributed for schools, roads and other public services in local communities. The demographic data are used by businesses to determine things such as where to build new supermarkets and by emergency responders to locate injured people after natural disasters..

What questions will the 2020 census ask?


  • The number of people living or staying in a home on April 1, 2020.
  • Whether the home is owned with or without a mortgage, rented or occupied without rent.
  • A phone number for a person in the home.
  • The name, sex, age, date of birth and race of each person in the home.
  • Whether each person is of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin.
  • The relationship of each person to a central person in the home.

How do I apply for a census job?

Applications for the half-million temporary census positions, including door knockers and outreach specialists, must be submitted online. You can find more information on the bureau's recruitment website.

The count results will be announced by Dec. 31, 2020.