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What’s the Census?

Once every ten years, America holds the decennial census to count every resident living in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories. It provides critical data used by lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide services, products, and support for you and others in your community. Each year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, and other resources based on the census data.

For more information, visit the official 2020 Census website or watch this informational video.

What is the Census timeline?

Notices and forms will start arriving in the mail in March 2020. By April 1, Census Day, every home will receive an invitation to participate. For households that don’t respond to the census, nonresponse follow-up begins in April 2020 and wraps up at the end of July 2020. Households will have the option of responding online, by mail, or by phone. The Census Bureau expects many households to complete the questionnaire online using instructions received in the mail. These instructions will also include information about how to respond by phone. 

Other important dates can be found here

Why is the Census important?

The census is used to reapportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as help redraw congressional, state, and local district boundaries. It also helps determine the amount of funding that state governments and local communities receive from the federal government for the next decade. Census counts need to be accurate to ensure that funding is distributed correctly for numerous programs such as Medicaid, special education grants, and the maintenance and construction of roads and bridges. Colorado receives $2,300/person per year, or over $13 billion annually for programs like school lunches, public housing, and public libraries. The census count also determines federal funding Colorado receives.

For more information on how Census data is used, visit the U.S. Census website or view this informational video.

Privacy and Protecting Yourself

The information you provide on the census is secure, confidential, and protected by federal law. The answers can only be used to create statistics and cannot be used against you in any way. It is against the law for any Census Bureau employee to disclose or publish any census or survey information that identifies an individual or business. This is true even for inter-agency communication: the FBI and other government entities do not have the legal right to access this information.

For more information on Census confidentiality, view the Census Confidentiality Fact Sheet

Be wary of scams and people posing as Census enumerators. The Census will never ask for:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Money/donations
  • Anything on behalf of a political party
  • Your bank or credit card account numbers
  • Your mother’s maiden name

For more information, view this video

To verify that the person calling you is a Census Bureau employee, follow the instructions here

Instructions on contacting the Census Bureau can be found here

Ways to Respond:

You will have three options for responding to the Census:

  • Online.
  • By phone.
  • By mail.

In mid-March, households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond. The 2020 Census is the first one to encourage online response as the primary way to respond. Town Hall and the Estes Valley Library are providing wi-fi access to help achieve a fair, accurate, and complete count. Note: due to current coronavirus-related precautions and closures, the public is encouraged to access the wi-fi from the municipal parking lots at this time to minimize risks.

For more information on this process, view this video

Factsheets on the Census