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2020 Census – Make PA Count


What is a Census and Why is it Important?

Once a decade, America comes together to count every resident in the United States, creating national awareness of the importance of the census and its valuable statistics. 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.


Residents use the census to support community initiatives involving legislation, quality-of-life and consumer advocacy.

Local government officials use the census to ensure public safety and plan new schools and hospitals. Federal funds, grants and support to states, counties and communities are based on population totals and breakdowns by sex, age, race and other factors. Your community benefits the most when the census counts everyone. People in your community use census data in all kinds of ways, such as these:

Businesses use Census Bureau data to decide where to build factories, offices and stores, and these create jobs.

Real estate developers and city planners use the census to plan new homes and improve neighborhoods.

The next census is coming in 2020. Counting an increasingly diverse and growing population is a massive undertaking. It requires years of planning and the support of thousands of people.

Ultimately, the success of the census depends on everyone’s participation. The Census Bureau depends on cross-sector collaborations with organizations and individuals to get people to participate.

The 2020 Census is important for you and your community, and you can help.

Learn more about the 2020 Census.



How is the Census taken?

Most households will receive a mailing in February/March 2020 with options for self-response including completing the census online or calling the Census Bureau to complete the form via phone or request a form in the mail. There are special efforts underway by the Census Bureau to count the homeless and people living in group quarters such as nursing homes, student dormitories, and prisons.

What if I don’t complete the census form?

Households not completing a census form may be called or visited by a representative from the US Census Bureau. The best way to avoid having a Census worker come to your door is to self-respond to the census online or by phone.

What questions will be asked on the census?

Questions will included on the 2020 Census asking age, sex, Hispanic origin, race, relationship, and home-ownership status. Despite earlier attempts by the Administration to add one, there will be NO question on citizenship status. See sample Census form here.

Is the Census only in English?

The internet self-response instrument and census questionnaire assistance will be available in 12 Non-English languages including Spanish, Chinese (Simplified), Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese and Japanese. Language glossaries and guides will be available in 59 Non-English languages.

Is information taken by the Census private?

Information given on the census form is confidential. By law, census information is not shared with any other government agency. Census workers take an oath to protect the pri­vacy of respondents and face jail time and/or heavy fines if they violate that oath.

Why should nonprofits care about the Census?

Many communities that are served by nonprofits are at risk of being under­counted in the Census, resulting in less funding and resources being allocated to those communities. Groups hardest-to-count are communities of color, low-income households, immigrants, and young children.

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