2020 Census

What is the Census?

The 2020 Census counts every person living in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories. The count is mandated by the Constitution and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency.

Why the Census?

Article 1, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution mandates that the country conduct a count of its population once every 10 years. The 2020 Census will mark the 24th time that the country has counted its population since 1790.

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.

How is the Census Conducted?

There are three ways that the Census Bureau will initially collect responses from people for the 2020 Census: online, phone and mail.

By April 1, 2020, you will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. 

Starting in May 2020, the Census Bureau will begin following up with homes that have not responded to the census.

Who to Count

If you are filling out the census for your home, you should count everyone who is living there as of April 1, 2020. This includes anyone who is living and sleeping there most of the time: children, adults and the elderly. Roommates count, too!

Get to Know the Census

2020 Census Sample Sheet Opens in new window

Click the above image to view a sample copy of the 2020 Census. 

Please note this is a sample of the paper questionnaire that will be used during the 2020 Census. This version excludes the URL and contact information, and does not count as a completed Census form. 

Census Fact: In 2016, NJ received over $22billion through 55 federal programs guided by data derived from the 2010 census. An undercount in 2020 means less funding for the next 10 years.

Census Timeline

PLEASE NOTE that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, dates for the Census have been extended. The deadline for completion is now October 31, 2020.

  • Through March 20: The U.S. Postal Service will deliver letters inviting residents to respond online and by phone. Instructions include the web address for the online questionnaire in English as well as where to respond online in 12 additional languages – ensuring over 99% of U.S. households can respond in their preferred language. Telephone assistance is available seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. EDT for those who prefer to respond by phone.
  • March 26 to April 3: Reminder postcards will be delivered to households that have not responded.
  • April 8 to 16: Reminder letters and paper questionnaires will be delivered to remaining households that have not responded.
  • April 20 to 27: Final reminder postcards will be delivered to households that have not yet responded.

Graphic map of United States with people

Census Fact: Children are the most underreported demographic. Census data helps fund programs that directly affect kids, including special education, foster care, nutrition assistance, Head Start and more.

Does the Census Bureau Protect My Privacy?

The Census Bureau is bound by Title 13 of the U.S. Code to keep your information confidential.

Under Title 13,  your private data is protected and that your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court. The answers you provide are used only to produce statistics. You are kept anonymous.

Please note, there is no citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

Be Aware of Census Scams


Phishing is a criminal act in which someone tries to get your information by pretending to be an entity that you trust. Phishing emails often direct you to a website that looks real but is fake—and may be infected with malware.

It is important to know that the Census Bureau will not send unsolicited emails to request your participation in the 2020 Census. Further, during the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau will never ask for:

  • Your Social Security number.
  • Your bank account or credit card numbers.
  • Money or donations.

At Home

If someone visits your home to collect a response for the 2020 Census, you can do the following to verify their identity:

  • First, check to make sure that they have a valid ID badge, with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date.
  • If you still have questions about their identity, you can call (800) 923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative.

Report Fraud

If you suspect fraud, call (800) 923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative. If it is determined that the visitor who came to your door does not work for the Census Bureau, please contact the Police Department.