The 2020 Census is an important event for our city, our state, and our country. It’s also a little complicated, and there’s a lot of information to absorb.

You can use any Internet connection and complete your Census form online here.

Here are some answers to your frequently asked questions. If you have any other questions or concerns, you can also visit our dedicated Census webpage at queenslibrary.org/census2020.

What is the Census?
It’s a count of every person living in the United States. The census is required by the U.S. Constitution to happen every 10 years.

Why is the Census important?
Based on the census, the U.S. government decides how to divide more than $650 billion in federal funding for programs and services like Medicaid, SNAP, and Head Start. State and city governments, local nonprofits, and businesses also use census data when they distribute local resources, decide where to build new schools and hospitals, apply for grants, or create jobs and fund libraries. The information collected by the census is used to determine how many seats New York will have in the U.S. House of Representatives. An accurate count of our state’s population means New York will get its fair share of seats. New York State lost two representatives after the 2010 Census!

How do I take the Census?
From March 12-20, the Census Bureau will mail a letter to every household asking them to complete the census in one of three ways: going online, using the phone, or—if the household receives one—mailing back a paper questionnaire. This is the first nationwide digital census; the Census Bureau estimates that 45% of Americans will complete the census online. The government would like everyone to complete the census by April 1, 2020, which is Census Day! From May to July 2020, census workers will do follow-up visits to people who haven’t responded. During this period, people can still respond online, by phone, or by mail.

What kind of questions do they ask on the Census?
The census questionnaire asks how many people are living or staying in your home, their age and gender, what their relationship is to the person filling out the questionnaire, and their racial and ethnic background. The Census Bureau will NEVER ask for your Social Security number, for money or donations, for anything on behalf of a political party, or for your bank or credit card account numbers.

What happens to the information that I give the Census Bureau?
Census responses are confidential and protected by federal law. Title 13 of the U.S. Code prevents Census Bureau employees from releasing identifiable information to anyone, including law enforcement and other government agencies. There is no cross-referencing of Census information with any other government document. Personalized Census data are only released for research use after 72 years.

What languages are available for the Census?
In addition to English, you can take the 2020 Census online in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Japanese. The paper form is only available in English and Spanish. The Census Bureau will provide video and print language guides in 59 non-English languages, including American Sign Language, as well as guides in Braille and large print.

Is there a citizenship question?
There is NO citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

How can I identify a Census worker who comes to my door?
They will present an ID with their name, photo, a Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. They will have an official bag and Census Bureau-issued electronic device, such as laptop or smartphone, with the Census Bureau logo. They will do their work between 9am and 9pm. If you wish to verify their identity, please call 1-800-991-2520, the New York Regional Office, between 8am and 5pm Monday-Friday.