Why We Ask

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The 2020 Census is easy. The questions are simple.

The census asks questions that provide a snapshot of the nation. Census results affect your voice in government, how much funding your community receives, and how your community plans for the future.

When you fill out the census, you help:

  • Determine how many seats your state gets in Congress.
  • Guide how more than $675 billion in federal funding is distributed to states and communities each year
  • Create jobs, provide housing, prepare for emergencies, and build schools, roads and hospitals.

POPULATION COUNT (NUMBER OF PEOPLE LIVING OR STAYING)

We ask this question to collect an accurate count of the number of people at each address on Census Day, April 1, 2020. Each decade, census results determine how many seats your state gets in Congress. State and local officials use census counts to draw boundaries for districts like congressional districts, state legislative districts, and school districts.

ANY ADDITIONAL PEOPLE LIVING OR STAYING

Our goal is to count people once, only once, and in the right place according to where they live on Census Day. Keeping this goal in mind, we ask this question to ensure that everyone living at an address is counted.

OWNER/RENTER

We ask about whether a home is owned or rented to create statistics about homeownership and renters. Homeownership rates serve as an indicator of the nation's economy and help in administering housing programs and informing planning decisions.

PHONE NUMBER

We ask for a phone number in case we need to contact you. We will never share your number and will only contact you if needed for official Census Bureau business.

NAME

We ask for names to ensure everyone in the house is counted. Listing the name of each person in the household helps respondents include all members, particularly in large households where a respondent may forget who was counted and who was not.

SEX

We ask about the sex of each person to create statistics about males and females. Census data about sex are used in planning and funding government programs, and in evaluating other government programs and policies to ensure they fairly and equitably serve the needs of males and females. These statistics are also used to enforce laws, regulations, and policies against discrimination in government programs and in society.

AGE AND DATE OF BIRTH

We ask about age and date of birth to understand the size and characteristics of different age groups and to present other data by age. Local, state, tribal, and federal agencies use age data to plan and fund government programs that provide assistance or services for specific age groups, such as children, working-age adults, women of childbearing age, or the older population. These statistics also help enforce laws, regulations, and policies against age discrimination in government programs and in society.

HISPANIC, LATINO, OR SPANISH ORIGIN

We ask about whether a person is of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin to create statistics about this ethnic group. The data collected in this question are needed by federal agencies to monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions, such as under the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.

RACE

We ask about a person's race to create statistics about race and to present other statistics by race groups. The data collected in this question are needed by federal agencies to monitor compliance
with anti-discrimination provisions, such as under the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act. State governments use the data to determine congressional, state, and local voting districts.

WHETHER A PERSON LIVES OR STAYS SOMEWHERE ELSE

Our goal is to count people once, only once, and in the right place according to where they live on Census Day. Keeping this goal in mind, we ask this question to ensure individuals are not included at multiple addresses.

RELATIONSHIP

We ask about the relationship of each person in a household to one central person to create estimates about families, households, and other groups. Relationship data are used in planning and funding government programs that provide funds or services for families, people living or raising children alone, grandparents living with grandchildren, or other households that qualify for additional assistance.