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2020 Census: Home

News and information concerning the upcoming 2020 Census

Timeline of Key Census Activities

  • January 2020 - Census Questionnaire Assistance will be available to answer general questions about the census from mid-January through early September 2020, However, the self-response period for the telephone option will run from mid-March through the end of July.
  • February 2020 - The Census Bureau wil contact administrators of group quarters (military barracks, college dorms, prosins, and skilled nursing homes, amng others) in advance of the enumeration of these locations, which will occur in April.
  • March 12, 2020 - The internet self-response periods will start as households begin to receive invitations to respond, either through the mail or hand-delivered to households in many rural and remote areas. Households may continue to self-respond through July 31.
  • March 30, 2020 - Service-Based Enumeration (SBE) will begin. This three-day/night enumeration occurs at shelter, locations that provide services for people experiencing homelessness, and targeted outdoor locations where people experiencing homelessness sleep. 
  • April 1, 2020 - Census Day! Respondents do not have to wait until April 1 to respond but should include everyone who will be a "usual resident" on April 1. If people aren't sure, they can wait until April 1 to respond. 
  • April 2020 - Group quarters will be counted during April.
  • May 13, 2020 - Nonresponsive Follow-up (NRFU) will begin. During NRFU, the Census Bureau will follow up with households that did not self-respond to the census by sending reminders and/or visiting in person. NRFU will continue through July. (In communities with large numbers of off-campus college students, NRFU will begin on April 9, to reach students before the academic term ends.)   

What is the census, and why is it important?

The census, conducted once every ten years, is the constitutionally-required count of every person living in the United States. It's a huge and complex endeavor, one with an enormous impact on all our communities. The 2020 Census will be the first to urge most households to respond online, but people will have the option of responding by phone or paper questionnaire.

The decennial census form asks questions about all the people who live and sleep in a household most of the time--including babies and anyone who has no other permanent place to stay and is staying on the house hold--as of April 1, 2020. The census form should take about 10 minutes to complete, depending on the number of people in the household.

Census data are used to make decisions about how and where to spend more than $800 billion each year for programs and services that communities rely on. The census population count is used to determine representation in Congress (known as reapportionment) and the Electoral College. Simply put, communities that are undercounted are disadvantaged economically and politically. 

Communities also use census data for planning purposes. For example, local school districts may not be able to plan effectively for changing needs if large numbers of young children are not counted, as has been the case in previous censuses. Census data help local leaders make planning decisions about where municipal services should be located, whether they should expand, and what kinds of services should be offered based on the characteristics of the community.

We only have one shot every ten years to get the census right. If we don't, undercounted groups won't get the appropriate level of funding for programs needed in their neighborhoods, and local leaders and officials won't have the reliable information they need to make decisions.   



The text of the opinion concerning the citizenship question is available here.


2020 Census In The News

Push For A Full 2020 Count Ramps Up After Census Citizenship Question Fight

Why The 2020 Census Citizenship Question Hasn't Gone Away

Concerns Linger That Noncitizens Will Not Fill Out 2020 Census

Blocked from the census, citizenship question still being asked

How the Political Map Is Likely to Shift After the 2020 Census

Analysis: Why the 2020 census doesn't need a citizenship question to count the undocumented

2nd federal judge blocks Trump admin from adding citizenship question to census

House to vote to hold Barr, Ross in contempt over 2020 Census citizenship question

Trump Officials Face Cover-Up Allegations After Failed Citizenship Question Push

2020 CENSUS: Actions Needed to Address Key Risks to a Successful Enumeration

Judge signs order permanently blocking citizenship question from 2020 census

Federal judge permanently blocks Trump admin from adding citizenship question to 2020 census

Trump may face more court battles over giving citizenship data to states

Trump abandoned the citizenship question, yet thousands still have to answer it

Budget gridlock imperils 2020 census

Trump’s Push For Citizenship Data Could Still Be Used For Gerrymandering

Some Fear Undercount As Texas Decides Not To Spend Money On 2020 Census

Trump expected to back away from census citizenship question, direct Commerce to seek data through other sources

Trump Expected To Renew Push For Census Citizenship Question With Executive Action

Trump expected to announce executive action on census

Trump to hold news conference on census as he mulls executive action to add a citizenship question

Trump to order citizenship question on census, despite Supreme Court

Second judge rejects Justice Department request to change census lawyers

Cities And Immigrants Drove Census Controversy — 100 Years Ago

The Trump administration's failed lawyer swap epitomizes its larger census problem 

William Barr says he sees legal way to add citizenship question to 2020 census

Judge Rejects Justice Dept. Request to Change Lawyers on Census Case

New Justice Department Legal Team Trying To Get Citizenship Question On 2020 Census

In losing legal battles over census, Trump may win political war

Justice Department presses for census citizenship question

Justice Department Changes Legal Team Behind Census Citizenship Question Case

Justice Department shaking up legal team on census case

Justice Department shifting census case to new team of lawyers

Department of Justice shakes up team handling 2020 census-related cases

President Trump doubles down on his fight to add citizenship question to census

Federal judge moves forward on census citizenship question

Trump may use executive order on census question

Judge To Review Claims Of Census Citizenship Question's 'Discriminatory' Origins

As census goes to print, Trump administration isn't giving up on citizenship question

DOJ Still Looking To Add Census Citizenship Question, Official Tells Court

Trump says he is ‘absolutely moving forward’ with census citizenship question, contradicting his own administration

Hacking, Glitches, Disinformation: Why Experts Are Worried About the 2020 Census

2020 Census Won’t Have Citizenship Question as Trump Administration Drops Effort

2020 Census Forms Will Be Printed Without Citizenship Question

Facebook to ban misinformation about 2020 census

Facebook commits to staving off census misinformation

How The Fight Over The Census Citizenship Question Could Rage On

What’s Next for the 2020 Census

Supreme Court blocks 2020 census citizenship question in setback for Trump admin

Supreme Court refuses to approve citizenship question on 2020 census

Supreme Court faults Trump bid to add census citizenship question

Reopened Legal Challenge to Census Citizenship Question Throws Case Into Chaos

House Dems say they've found more political motivation for citizenship question

'Disturbing picture': Judge says census question might have discriminatory motive

Former top Commerce aide says he was directed by Ross to add Census citizenship question

What's behind the citizenship question on the 2020 census

In the census-citizenship case, the Supreme Court may once again affirm 'white rule'

Supreme Court set to deliver ruling on census citizenship question

US Census Bureau turns to aerial technology to help with 2020 count

Judge's Order Sets Up Potential New Block Against Census Citizenship Question

Federal judge says census citizenship question merits more consideration in light of new evidence

Judge in census case: New evidence alleging political motivation behind citizenship question 'raises a substantial issue'

Supreme Court expected to weigh in on the 2020 Census citizenship question

How Trump's census question could transform America's electoral map

Emails Connect Census Official With GOP Strategist On Citizenship Question

Trump Blocked Congress From Seeing These Emails About The Census Unredacted

READ: Letter from the Commerce Dept. informing House committee Trump has asserted executive privilege over 2020 census documents

Trump defends census citizenship question

Explainer: Can Trump use executive privilege to block congressional probes?

Challengers of census citizenship question ask Supreme Court to put off ruling

Trump asserts executive privilege over subpoenaed census docs

Census Fight Grows as House Panel Backs Contempt and Trump Asserts Privilege

California Boosts Outreach Efforts for 2020 Census

2020 Census could be worst undercount of black and Latinx people since 1990

The Supreme Court may have already decided the census case. Will the new revelations matter?

Judge Delays Review Of 'Serious' Allegations Of Citizenship Question Cover-Up

Judge delays decision in census citizenship case after hearing evidence of GOP scheme

2020 Census Could Lead To Worst Undercount Of Black, Latinx People In 30 Years

2020 census could undercount 4 million people — particularly Latinos and blacks

Charges of Politics in Census Debate Are ‘Smoke and Mirrors,’ Justice Dept. Says

DOJ fires back at allegations over GOP strategist's role in census citizenship question

New evidence throws census citizenship case into question

Deceased G.O.P. Strategist’s Hard Drives Reveal New Details on the Census Citizenship Question

New census evidence is 'smoking gun' to Latino legislators, activists

Trump's Proposed Census Citizenship Question Bucks Centuries of Precedent 

Gavin Newsome is Using the Obamacare Playbook To Count Californians in the 2020 Census

Companies That Rely On Census Data Worry Citizenship Question Will Hurt

How Much Will It Cost Illinois To Get A Correct Census Count in 2020? One Group Says $33M--and Worth Every Penny

California Could Lose 1 Seat in Congress After 2020 Census 

Census To Be Hand Delivered in Paradise, Calif., Mexico Beach, Fla., Puerto Rico 

Pennsylvania's Census Commission Asking State To Spend $1 Per Head On The 2020 Census 

Why the Supreme Court Is Ruling on the Census

Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments Over 2020 Census Citizenship Question 

Just How Many People Live in Philly, the U.S.? Here's Why That's A Tough Question To Answer

How the Supreme Court's Decision on the Census Could Alter American Politics

Report: Illinois Should Spend $33M to Promote 2020 Census 

For California, 2020 Census Poses Huge Challenges, Carries Big Stakes

Fearing an Undercount, States Prepare for 2020 Census Push

Eric Holder Worried Supreme Court Will Allow Trump Administration to 'Weaponize' 2020 Census 

2020 Census Concerns in Camden--Where 'Thousands' Avoided 2010 Count--Reflect Worries Nationwide 

California Growth Rate Slows as 2020 Census Looms 

One Year Away From the 2020 U.S. Census

Riverside, San Bernardino County Prep For Census Amid Fears of Undercount 

Supreme Court Considers 2020 Census Question 

Aging Ohio: 2020 Census Projected To Show Ohioans Age 60 and Older Will Outnumber Those Under 20 

This is What The 2020 Census Means For Californians 








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Greg Curtis
Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469

Information contained in this subject guide was adapted from the American Library Association publication Libraries' Guide to the 2020 Census, and  

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