What is a Census?

Once a decade, America comes together to count every resident in the United States. The decennial census was first taken in 1790, as mandated by the Constitution. It counts our population and households, providing the basis for reapportioning congressional seats, redistricting, and distributing more than $675 billion in federal funds annually to support states, counties and communities’ vital programs — impacting housing, education, transportation, employment, health care and public policy.

What to Expect in the Mail

When it's time to respond, most households will receive an invitation in the mail. Every household will have the option of responding online, by mail, or by phone.

 On or between:

 You'll receive:

 March 12 - 20, 2020  An invitation to respond online.
 March 16 - 24, 2020  A reminder letter. 
   If you haven't responded yet...
 March 26, April 3, 2020  A reminder postcard. 
 April 8 - 16, 2020  A reminder letter and paper questionnaire. 
 April 20 - 27, 2020  A final reminder postcard.

Please note, the U.S. Census will follow up in person with all households that do not respond. 


  • How are census data used?
  • What is the decennial census?
  • Will my data remain confidential?
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