Why the Census Matters
The US Census is a once a decade count of everyone residing in the United States. It will have a big impact on North Carolina’s communities through representation, funding, and reliable information. The US Constitution requires a Census every 10 years to determine seats in the US House of Representatives. North Carolina has 13 Congressional seats, but recent estimates show that our state may gain a seat after the 2020 Census. A complete count will ensure that North Carolina’s voice will be appropriately represented in Congress. The Census also provides the most detailed picture of our communities, and governmental funding programs rely on Census data to distribute billions of dollars each year. In Fiscal Year 2015, the US Government distributed over $16 billion in North Carolina providing resources for schools, health care, highways, and more. That’s $1,623 per person per year, and the State of North Carolina also distributes about $200 per person per year to counties and towns based on Census information. Information from the Census helps local service providers and businesses plan for our dynamic state. The Census is important to our future. When you complete your 2020 Census form, you Make NC Count.
How do People Respond
The 2020 Census will shape representation, funding, and planning for North Carolina’s future; and being counted in the Census is quick, easy, and safe. This is the first US Census to allow internet or smartphone responses; you can complete your Census form online. The Census invitation was mailed in March and included a web address, Census ID code, and phone number. If you did not receive it you can still take it at https://2020census.gov/en.html. If you do not have internet access or would rather not reply online, you can provide your information by phone at 844-330-2020. You can also use the phone number to request a paper Census form. Census forms are available in 12 languages, and Census support is available in over 50 languages including American Sign Language. Questionnaire support is available online via chat and over the phone. Census Enumerators are now visiting the addresses of non-responders to make sure everyone is counted. The information you provide is confidential and by law cannot be shared for 72 years. This includes all federal and state government agencies, law enforcement, courts, etc. The Census questionnaire is short and can be completed in a few minutes. Your confidential participation helps provide representation, funding, and planning data to serve your community for the next decade. When you complete your 2020 Census form, you Make NC Count.
How the Census Works
The 2020 Census is a big operation – in fact, it is the largest peacetime operation conducted by the US government. It takes a big operation to count everyone in a nation that is growing and becoming more mobile and diverse. The task of the Census is to count everyone once, only once, and in the right place. This task is required by the Constitution to determine where Congressional seats should be apportioned. Everyone counts in the Census – no matter your age, race, sex, or place of birth. The Census counts everyone in every living situation whether you reside in a house, apartment, dorm, prison, barracks, or are homeless. The Census counts everyone where they usually live on April 1, 2020; but the Census does not change your legal residence for taxes, voter registration, or other residency status.
Participation is required by law. While you can skip questions on the Census form, this increases your likelihood of being visited by a Census Enumerator.
Confidentiality – Participating is Safe
Your Census response is confidential and protected for 72 years per Title 13 of the US Code. Your personal Census information cannot be shared with any one or any government agency including law enforcement, immigration, IRS, etc. Violation of Census confidentiality is punishable by five years in federal prison and/or $250,000 fine. These severe penalties protect your Census privacy. While participating in the Census is safe, knowing what to expect will help avoid potential scams and fraud. The 2020 Census is short. The Census form asks questions about housing tenure (owning/renting), phone number, number of people in the home, relationship, and name, sex, race, Hispanic/Latino origin for each person in the home. The 2020 Census does NOT ask for social security numbers, bank or credit card account numbers, money or donations, or anything on behalf of a political party. Census Enumerators are now in the field conducting 2020 Census non-response operations. All Census workers will have ID badges with their photograph, US Department of Commerce watermark, and expiration date. Census workers will carry a hand-held device and a clearly marked US Census Bureau bag. If asked, Census workers will produce their supervisor’s contact information and/or regional office phone number for verification and a letter from the Director of the Census Bureau on US Census Bureau letterhead. A Census worker will never ask to enter your home. Your Census response is important to the future of your community, and your participation is safe.