The census is an annual survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau every 10 years. Not only is the census required by the Constitution, but it’s critically important to communities because census data is used to determine everything from representation in Congress to allocation of federal and state funds. It’s very important that we have an accurate count here in Waukegan.
What questions does the Census ask?
When you complete your Census form, you’ll be asked to answer basic questions about all the people who live and sleep in your household as of April 1, 2010 – including babies! You should also include people who may be experiencing homelessness or don’t otherwise have their own permanent address, and who are staying with you. You’ll be asked to answer questions about age, race or ethnic identity, and relationships of people living at your address to you, the head of the household. The census form should only take you about 10 minutes to complete – and for the first time, you can complete it online!
How do I complete the Census?
You’ll receive an invitation letter in the mail with instructions. Your letter will include a special identification code, called your Census ID, that is unique to you! The Census ID is one way the Census Bureau will try to avoid duplicating answers. Using your Census ID is not required as you can provide your address instead, but it will be helpful if you do. Your letter will tell you how to access the online form, which is available in 13 languages. It will also include a phone number you can call. You can still complete a paper form if you would like, but these forms will only be available in English and bilingual English-Spanish only.
Where can I complete the Census?
Come to the Library! We don’t require ID or a library card to use computers, and we do not save your personal information. We can also provide you with technical assistance. You can also complete the Census at home or over the phone.
What if I don’t respond?
Everyone living in the United States is required to be counted as part of the Census, and because the data we collect in the Census is so important, the Census Bureau will send you a reminder letter if you haven’t responded by April 2020. If you do not respond then, you’ll receive a paper questionnaire you can mail back. If you don’t respond to the paper questionnaire, you’ll receive a visit from a Census Taker.
Is my Census data safe?
Yes! Information you submit through the Census form (either online or on paper) is kept confidential by the U.S. Census Bureau, which is a nonpartisan government agency. The Census Bureau will never share information with immigration enforcement agencies or law enforcement agencies.
Will I be asked about my citizenship or immigration status?
No, the 2020 Census will not include a question about citizenship. It is important that you complete the Census regardless of your immigration status. Everyone deserves to be counted, and your information will be kept confidential.