The 2020 Census: Who, What, Where, When, and Why

This article was written by Linda Stewart

2020 Census has begun. In March, each home in our neighborhoods will receive a mailed questionnaire to report the number of people living in that home. The following details will give you more information on the Who? What? Where? When? and Why? Before that, read the following cautions thoroughly – they are important to note.
This count is not limited to U.S. Citizens. We have many immigrants living in the Twin Cities, and everyone must be counted in order to get enough state and federal funding to provide services for all living here.
There is not a question on the Census about your citizenship or immigration status. There are questions about ethnicity and race. This information is needed so that school programs, job training, health care, etc. can be tailored to serve the needs of our diverse communities.
The Census Bureau does not communicate via email. Do not respond to emails about the census. There is no cost to complete the questionnaire. You will not be asked to provide your social security number, or bank or credit card account numbers for the census. This is not based on any candidate or political party. If someone contacts you saying that they are from the Census Bureau and asks you for any of this information, do not provide it. 
In April, if you have not completed the census questionnaire, census workers will come to your door to get the census completed. Ask to see their identification – each census worker will have a badge with a photo ID. You can also call 800-923-8282 to get verification that census workers are in your neighborhood, or about any census worker that comes to your door.

Who: You! It is very important to your neighborhood, city, and state that every household complete the census with accurate information. 

What: The 2020 Census counts the population in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands).

Where: In the privacy of your own home. Each home will receive an invitation to respond to a short questionnaire—online, by phone or by mail. Take advantage of this invitation, complete the questionnaire and you are done! If you don’t respond with the first invitation, additional attempts will be made to get the needed information.

When: Questionnaires will be delivered via U.S. Mail to residences in mid-March. For those without a household at that time, from the Census Bureau will count people who are experiencing homelessness over three days, March 30-April 1. As part of this process, the Census Bureau counts people in shelters, at soup kitchens and mobile food vans, on the streets, and at non-sheltered, outdoor locations such as tent encampments.” **


#1 – “It’s … in the Constitution: Article 1, Section 2, mandates that the country conduct a count of its population once every 10 years.” The first census was conducted in 1790 and has been done every 10 years since. The U.S. Census Bureau is a nonpartisan government agency and has the responsibility to get as accurate of a count as possible.

#2 – “The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and your community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data.”

#3 – “The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.”

The questions asked on the census questionnaire are: How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2020? Were there any additional people staying here on April 1, 2020 that you did not include in question #1? Is this house, apartment, or mobile home? What is your telephone number? What is Person 1’s name? Person 1’s Sex? Person 1’s Age and Date of Birth? Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino, and Spanish origin? What is Person 1’s race? The last five questions are repeated for additional household members.

To see a sample questionnaire, go to .

Much of the above info was quoted from