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, hospitals, new clinics, new roads, bridges, WIC, and more services for families, adults, senior citizens, and children.
The results will also inform how billions of dollars in federal funding is allocated to more than 100 programs, including Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services, hospitals, fire departments, school lunch programs, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP + and other critical programs and services.
The U.S. Constitution mandates that the country count its population once every 10 years. The results are used to adjust or redraw electoral districts, based on where populations have increased or decreased. State legislatures or independent bipartisan commissions are responsible for redrawing congressional districts. The U.S. Census Bureau provides states with population counts for this purpose.
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.
The law requires the Census Bureau to keep your information confidential and use it only to produce statistics. The agency cannot publicly release your responses in any way that could identify you. By law, US Census Bureau cannot share your information with any law enforcement agency. All Census Bureau workers take a legally binding, lifetime oath to protect your information. Anyone who violates that oath could face jail time, a $250,000 fine, or both.
It is understandable that many people are undocumented and fearful that participating in the Census could expose them and their families to harm. The Bureau will continue working with trusted voices in local communities to encourage people to participate. A complete count requires a grassroots effort with local officials and respected members of all groups in our communities. We’ll also use traditional advertising, digital advertising and social media to spread the word. We hire locally. Our staff collectively speak dozens of languages and represent their communities. If people are hesitant to receive a visit by a census taker, they can avoid that by self-responding securely and confidentially online, by mail or by phone.