About the Census

What is the Census?

Article 1, section 2 of the US Constitution empowers Congress to carry out a complete count of every person living in the United States of America. This count is referred to as the Census. The Census has been conducted every 10 years for the past 230 years. All residents, including non-citizens, children and seniors are counted.

U.S. Census data is used to allocate over $675 billion worth of federal funds. 132 federal programs use this data to determine the distribution of the funds.

A constitutionally required count of every resident of the United States

Conducted Every Ten Years

Next Census is April, 2020

Everyone counts: Including children and non-citizens.

Timeline For the 2020 Census

The census officially begins April 1. But you can start before that. In mid-March, the Census Bureau will send letters instructing people how to take the survey online. In April, the bureau will follow up by sending a PAPER questionnaire to people who did not respond online. In May and June, it will conduct in-person interviews with people who have not responded.

Do not wait! It is SAFE and required for every household to complete the census survey. There is NO citizenship question on the form. By law, your information can only be used to obtain an accurate count.

March 12th – 20th, 2020

Letter with info to take survey online

March 16th – 24th, 2020

Reminder letter to non-respondents

March 26th – April 3rd

Postcard to non-respondents

April 2020

Letter & paper questionnaire to non-respondents

May – July 2020

In-person interviews of non-respondents

Why Does The Census Matter?

The results of the census every 10 years drive two key factors: Funding for federal programs and representation in Washington, D.C.

If we are undercounted in New York, people will be deprived of education, health care, food and shelter, and we will have fewer elected officials in the Capitol to fight for us.

$700 billion in federal funds are at stake

In 2010, 76 percent of New Yorkers responded to the survey, and it led to more than $73 billion in census-allocated federal funds. If we could get the response rate up to 85 percent, it could mean an additional $9 billion. It's a matter of the share the state deserves.

Determines representation in government

Census data is also used to redraw legislative districts. New York’s Congressional, State Senate and State Assembly districts will be redrawn in 2021 based on data compiled from the Census. Based on trends in population and undercounting, New York is projected to lose one – possibly two – Congressional seats.

How To Complete Your Census

For the first time, people will be able to fill out the census survey online, in addition to by mail or by telephone. The Census Bureau will begin sending mail out in waves to all residents in the middle of March. The first day that individuals can complete the Census online is March 12th. Individuals who do not initially respond will be sent multiple reminder mailings and may be contacted at home by a Census Enumerator.

There are four easy ways to complete your census form. Choose what is most convenient or makes you most comfortable. But do it as soon as possible, and encourage your family and friends to do it, too.


By Phone

By Mail

In Person