WHAT IS THE CENSUS?
The census is a national headcount mandated by the U.S. Constitution. The survey is conducted by the nonpartisan U.S. Census Bureau. Taken once every 10 years, this population tally determines the number of congressional seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. It also affects the amount of federal funding your community receives for education, transportation, employment and other vital services.
WHAT INFORMATION WILL BE REQUESTED?
The census will collect basic information about the people living in your household. Questions include how many people are staying at your home on April 1, 2020, their ages and genders, and whether you own or rent the home.
WHAT INFORMATION WILL NOT BE REQUESTED?”
The Census Bureau will never ask for:
- Social Security numbers.
- Bank or credit card account numbers.
- Money or donations.
- Anything on behalf of a political party.
WHEN WILL I COMPLETE THE CENSUS?
Beginning in mid-March 2020, people will receive a notice in the mail to complete the 2020 census. By April 1, 2020, every home will receive an invitation to participate. You can respond by phone, mail, or for the very first time, online. In May, the U.S. Census Bureau will begin visiting in person the households that haven’t responded to the census. It’s important to ensure an accurate count because by December 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau must deliver the apportionment counts to Congress.
HOW CAN I BE SURE THE PERSON AT MY DOOR IS REALLY WITH THE CENSUS?
The census taker will have a valid identification badge with his or her photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date. If you are still uncertain, call 800-923-8282 to speak to a local Census Bureau representative.
WHAT DOES THE GOVERNMENT WANT WITH MY INFORMATION?
The U.S. census is required by the Constitution in order to keep a count on the number of Americans that there are and to see general information. Your personal information will never be discussed or disclosed and is protected by federal law and sworn oath. The information you give cannot and will not affect you legally, including if you are an undocumented immigrant working here. You will not lose any rights by completing the census. This is only to help distribute federal funding and keep a correct and complete count.
WHO IS REQUIRED TO RESPOND?
Anyone living in the 50 states, the District of Columbia or U.S. territories is required to be counted in the census.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I REFUSE TO RESPOND TO THE CENSUS?
Responding to the census is a civic duty and a legal requirement. Not completing the census causes a decrease in federal funding and representation. If you refuse, or if you provide false information, you can face fines or be met with legal action.
WHY IS THE US CENSUS IMPORTANT FOR WEST VIRGINIANS?
We could lose representatives in Washington D.C., which means West Virginia doesn’t get as much funding or representation for our home state. We lose federal funding (about $2,000 per person/household that does not complete the census) which means less support for infrastructure, nonprofit organizations, and businesses.
WHY IS THE CENSUS IMPORTANT FOR VETERANS?
Veterans are the cornerstone of service and support for West Virginians and our nation. They are one of the least counted groups that are in desperate need of representation. If they do not complete the census, they lose out on money for support groups, therapy and mental health programs, and many other programs for Veterans Affairs. Federal dollars and representation change the benefits veterans receive in West Virginia.
WHY IS THE CENSUS IMPORTANT FOR MINORITIES?
Studies show that minorities are the larges groups misrepresented in the US Census. African Americans and Latino Americans are often grossly under-counted. This can lead to major cuts to funding for nonprofit organizations, public health and more. By responding to and completing the US Census you are making a difference in the representation of your community. No matter what race, gender, ethnic, or religious background you come from; we all deserve to be represented and accounted for. We all matter. By filling out the Census you are stating that you deserve to be heard and seen by your representatives and your community.
WHY IS THE CENSUS IMPORTANT FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS?
College students who live on campus DO NOT need to respond with their family/home address. College students must respond with the city or town in which they reside during their time in college (i.e. a West Virginia University student would respond with Morgantown and not their hometown). The U.S. census affects financial aid, federal funding for education, student demographics, and representation in local and national level. If students do not respond, they miss out on opportunities to better their future.
For more information about the U.S. 2020 census, click here.