What is Census in the USA?

Photo courtesy of US Census Bureau

If you have been in the USA for less than 10 years, you may be wondering what is census?

I still remember a government worker knocking on our house door in Baghdad. He was asking my father questions about the people living in the house. My father was calm when answering those questions, but I was scared thinking that my father is in trouble with the government. My father told me later about the census. I asked, «What is census?» He said that governments count the people living in the country to prepare for their future needs.

Many people in the USA will experience the census for the first time in 2020, and some are unsure about responding. Here in the USA, it is taken every ten years. The information is used to determine the fair sharing of resources between the communities such as schools, housing, and employment funding.

As a recent immigrant, this is my first time participating and I am excited about the opportunity.

What to expect

Between August and October of 2019, officials will be visiting different areas around the US to make sure that all the addresses are correct. The video below will give further details about how to know real Census workers. The workers will carry a government identification card, a bag, and a laptop with the official logo on it. In early 2020, every address will receive information in the mail on how to complete the census. You will be asked questions about the people in your house, including their age and race.

Why is it important?

Participating in a census is our civic responsibility, and it helps in election practices. It is also important for the government to know how many people live in a city or a state. They want to give the right financial and other resources to support those services. It also helps the local government to understand the needs of the community better.

How do I complete the 2020 form?

You will have multiple ways to respond to the questions. You can complete the papers online, on the phone, by mail, or with the help of an employee. Any of these ways are good as long as the information provided is correct.

Participating in the 2020 Census

Conducting the Census is not an easy task because it requires a lot of people to work together. We can make it successful by participating and encouraging others to participate. People might not see the importance or not get the right information.

I am proud to be part of the 2020 Census because I understand the importance of counting all the people in my community. I will also be encouraging my friends and family to participate in the census.

If you are unsure about the persons coming to your door asking for information, you can ask them questions. It is a part of their job to explain what is going on. Asking a person you trust to make sure that you are taking to real Census employees is a good idea too. Please visit the Census website to learn more about what is a census.

Watch videos about the US Census in your own language

Watch immigrants and refugees explain the Census. These videos were made by people at my organization, Church World Service, I hope you find them helpful!

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