By Jody Kempf and Alicia Kubas
University of Minnesota Libraries Civic Engagement Committee
The Census 2020 online form is live. Even if you haven’t received the postcard in the mail or if you threw it away by accident, you can submit your Census form by entering in your home address.
You can also call 1-844-330-2020 to fill out the form with a Census Questionnaire Assistance representative in English or, to fill out the form in one of 12 other languages, look up the appropriate Census phone number.
Learn more below about how you can be counted in the 2020 Census! Visit the Libraries Census website to dig into all the details of the 2020 Census, in addition to the information you’ll find below.
Why should you respond?
- The Census determines the number of representatives your state has in Congress.
- It provides information that influences hundreds of billions of dollars of federal funding.
- It provides data that will impact communities across the country for the next decade.
- You are also required by law to complete the Census.
Check out this video featuring students from across Minnesota explaining why the Census is so important!
Who should be counted?
Everyone! The U.S. Constitution requires that everyone in the country be counted every 10 years. Most people will respond with their household information, but read on to learn about how students are counted.
College students are counted at the address where they live most of the time as of April 1, 2020. With closure of campus for COVID-19, students should still be counted where they would have been living if they had not been displaced because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you live in on-campus housing — like a residence hall, dorm, or apartment — or in off-campus housing that is owned or managed by your college or university, the Census Bureau will work with your college or university to count you, so you don’t have to do anything. If you were planning to live in on-campus housing for the entire spring semester but are now living somewhere else because of COVID-19, you should still be counted only at your on-campus residence.
If you live off-campus or had planned to live in an off-campus residence for spring semester until COVID-19, you and your roommates should still be counted at this off-campus residence. Coordinate with your roommate(s) to submit only one response that includes everyone who lives or had been living at this residence until the COVID-19 outbreak. Each roommate should fill out a sample Census form (pdf) and give the information to the person who is completing the actual Census questionnaire.
International students living and attending college in the United States as of April 1, 2020 should be counted at the on- or off-campus residence where they live and sleep most of the time or where they had been living before any displacement because of COVID-19.
Watch this Census video about how college students should be counted amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
How should you respond?
When it’s time to respond, most households will receive an invitation by mail. Every household can choose to respond online, by mail, or by phone.
You will receive an invitation to respond online between March 12 and March 27. Households may continue to self-respond through July 31.
Learn more about how you can respond to the Census on the response options page from the Libraries Census guide.
What will you be asked?
The Census form will ask:
- your name
- your age and date of birth
- your sex
- your race
- if you are of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin
- if you are owner/renter
- for the number of people living or staying in the residence
- the relationship of each person in the household to one central person, and
- your phone number
You will not be asked about your citizenship status, social security number, your political affiliation, or any financial or banking information.
Check out the Census Bureau’s sample questionnaire to see exactly what questions will be asked before you fill out your form.
Get help from your library!
If you have any questions about how to fill out your Census form in any format, contact a Questionnaire Assistance Center (QAC). As a QAC, the University of Minnesota Libraries welcomes students, faculty, and staff as well as community members to contact us with questions.
Resources for a deep dive into the Census
- University of Minnesota Libraries 2020 Census Guide
- State of Minnesota Census Resources
- U.S. Census Bureau resources
- More Census information and resources from the U of M
About Jody Kempf and Alicia Kubas
Jody Kempf is Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering librarian and coordinator for instruction and outreach at the University Libraries, and is a member of the Libraries Civic Engagement Committee.
Alicia Kubas is Government Publications and Data Librarian at the University Libraries, the Regional Depository Coordinator within the Federal Depository Library Program, and a member of the Libraries Civic Engagement Committee.