Frequently Asked Questions about the Census

Why is the Census so important?


The goal of the U.S. Census is to to count every person living in the United States. Taken at the beginning of every decade, the count determines how $650 billion will be allotted to states, cities, and communities across the country, and how many seats they get in Congress over the next ten years. Getting a complete count ensures that every community, and all the people within them, receive the funding and representation they are entitled to. With COVID-19 having had a destructive economic impact across the United States, immigrant communities in particular, the Census will ensure that enough funding for recovery is properly distributed around the country to communities that need it.




Does the Census ask about citizenship status?


No. The Trump Administration attempted to add a question asking about citizenship status to the 2020 Census, but the courts have since struck this down, ruling that asking about citizenship would scare immigrants out of answering the Census, particularly undocumented folks. The Census is required by the Constitution to count every person living in the country, including non-citizens.




Is it safe to fill out the Census? Will my information be kept private?


Filling out the Census is safe and confidential. Only 10 questions are asked, mainly regarding how many people live in your household. The Census does not ask for income, citizenship status, if you are here "illegally," for your social security number, or for other private information. Title 13 of the U.S. Code prevents the Census Bureau, which administers the Census, from sharing your Census information with anyone, such as the President, ICE, or immigration judges. The main piece of information being collected is not individual names or addresses, but the exact number of people who live in our communities.




How do I fill out the Census?


Census InvitationYou can fill out the Census over the phone, in person, or, for the first time ever, online at my2020census.gov. The Census Bureau started mailing out invitations to complete the Census (pictured to the right) on March 12, so if you've received it, feel free to start filling it out on your own or with your family by May 15. Beginning in July, Census Enumerators will start visiting the homes of people who haven't completed the Census yet. We strongly encourage everyone to complete the Census before then. The Census asks 10 questions, and it takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.




Where can I go for help with the Census?


CIANA is here to answer any questions about the Census. Email us at info@cianainc.org, or give us a call at (718) 545-4040. You can also visit our Census page at cianainc.org/census-2020. The Census Bureau and NYC Census office websites also have useful resources for the public to use. Remember- it takes 10 minutes to answer 10 questions that will decide the next 10 years.




Will COVID-19 prevent me from completing the Census?


No. Since the Census can be done completely at home, you can do it if you're practicing social distance, self-isolation, or even quarantine. While the coronavirus has prevented us at CIANA from working directly with the community to spread the word about the Census, you can still call or email us for assistance or with questions.




Why should immigrants fill out the Census?


Every person living in the United States counts in the Census, whether they were born here or not. Every community is entitled to funding and political representation, and the primary way to achieve enough of both is by filling out the Census. Immigrants often miss out on funding for their communities because not enough fill out the Census. That's why it's especially important for immigrants to complete the Census in 2020.




Does everyone in my family need to be included in the Census?


Everyone who lives with you in your house or apartment must fill out the Census. This includes young children and babies born on or after April 1. It also includes senior citizens (adults over 62 years of age). A member of your extended family, such as a cousin, or any non-relative staying with you, must be included on your Census form as well. Everybody counts.





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