The U.S. Constitution mandates that every ten years a complete count of every resident in the United States must be conducted. The data collected by the decennial census determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and is also used to distribute federal funds to local communities. In order to get an accurate count, the Census Bureau builds an accurate address list of every housing unit, attempts to maximize self-response to the Bureau, and follows-up with those who do not respond.
More information can be found at: https://www.2020census.gov
Why is the Census important?
- The data ensures our community receives its fair share of state shared revenues;
- The data informs potential investments in West Allis(small businesses, developers, real estate brokers, etc. use the information);
- The data assists in benchmarking and tracking of City performance and services;
- The data assists in planning services for the community (e.g., roads, schools, emergency services, etc.);
- The data determines the City’s eligibility for funding opportunities and obligations for federal and state statutory requirements; and
- The data determines how many representatives each state gets in Congress and affects statewide districting.
How will the Census be conducted in 2020?
- A letter with response options (online, by phone, or by mail) will be mailed to residents. Households that do not respond via those methods will receive an in-person visit from a Census worker.
How will I know if the person at my door is a Census Bureau employee?
- Census employees can be identified by badges with photo IDs, laptops with 2020 Census logos, and black canvas bags.
When is the Census happening?
- Outreach and promotion about the 2020 Census is expected to begin early 2020. Individuals can start responding to the short survey in March 2020. The official "Census Day" is April 1. After April 1, census workers will begin following-up with residents in order to get a complete and accurate count of the population. The official count is due to the President of the United States by December 31, 2020.
Will anything happen before the Census takes place?
- The Census Bureau has begun their address canvassing operations, and these will continue through October 11. Census employees will be reviewing every address to ensure that each dwelling is appropriately categorized, and they may knock on doors if there are questions about the address. The address canvassing operations are conducted to ensure the Census Bureau’s address list is accurate in advance of the 2020 Census.
What questions will be asked on the Census?
- The Census Bureau has released a sample Census questionnaire with the questions that will be included in the 2020 Census. Download a copy in English (PDF) or Spanish (PDF).
are my responses confidential?
The Census Bureau is required by law to protect any personal information they collect and keep it strictly confidential. The Census Bureau can only use your answers to produce statistics. In fact, every Census Bureau employee takes an oath to protect your personal information for life. Your answers cannot be used for law enforcement purposes or to determine your personal eligibility for government benefits.
Can my responses be used against me?
By law, your census responses cannot be used against you by any government agency or court in any way—not by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), not by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), not by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and not by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The law requires the Census Bureau to keep your information confidential and use your responses only to produce statistics.
What can I do to help?
- Every household is asked to respond to the census survey. Please complete your survey as soon as you can; the more households that respond, the more accurate the population count should be.
- Help spread the word! Community leaders are needed to help spread the word that the 2020 Census is happening and to share information on how it works.