What is the census?
The U.S. Constitution mandates that a census is conducted. It is one of the very few duties of the federal government that was spelled out by the Founding Fathers in 1787. Further legislation requires a census every 10 years.
The U.S. Constitution requires the U.S. Census Bureau not just attempt to offer information or a service to the population, but that the Census Bureau actually reach and count every person living in the United States and its territories — of all ages, residence statuses, and locations — whether or not they desire to participate, and regardless of whether they are difficult to find, reach, and count.
The purpose of the 2020 Census is to conduct a census of population and housing and disseminate the results to the President, the states, and the American people. The goal of the 2020 Census is to count everyone once and in the right place.
Why does this matter?
The city of Peoria's budget comes from state-shared revenue based on population. Each person counted is worth $3,000 in public services. Essential city services, including police and fire protection as well as roads, parks, hospitals, and schools all depend on an accurate census count.
How to respond
The Census Bureau will be introducing new technology in 2020 to make it easier than ever to respond to the census. For the first time, you will be able to respond online, by phone or by mail.
- Online - People will receive a mailed postcard with a personal code to enter their information online.
- Phone - Residents can also call to take the survey.
- Mail - Paper surveys will be mailed if online submissions are not entered.
- February 2020 – Group quarters counts begin (assisted living/college dorms)
- March 23, 2020 – Internet self-response begins
- April 1, 2020 – Census Day
- April – June 2020 – Non-response follow up begins
- Dec. 31, 2020 – Census counts delivered to the President
- March 31, 2021 – Deadline for redistricting counts to be sent to states
When does it start?
The 2020 Census begins on Wednesday, April 1, 2020. This date is recognized as National Census Day in the United States.
How is census data used?
- Census data determines the number of seats allocated to the states for the House of Representatives. This requirement is mandated in the U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 2 and the 14th Amendment, Section 2).
- Census data is used for defining representative boundaries for congressional districts, state legislative districts, school districts, and voting precincts.
- Census data is used to appropriate federal funds to local communities including Peoria, Arizona.
- Census information is used to calculate unemployment, crime, and poverty rates as well as health and educational data.
- Businesses of all sizes depend on census data to make decisions about where to locate, hire, and invest.
How is my information protected?
Your information is secure and private. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share your answers by name with others, including welfare agencies, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Internal Revenue Service, courts, police and the military.
The numbers published by the Census Bureau are combined with thousands of answers from people in your neighborhood and across the country. Only sworn Census Bureau employees can see your responses. In fact, the law provides severe penalties for any census employee that makes your answers known.
How can I help?
Residents of the United States can self-report their answers to the Census Bureau. This will reduce the number of people needed to canvass homes - and reduce government spending - later in the census process.