Questions Asked

The Census 2020 is easy. The questions are simple. Person taking Census 2020 questionnaire.

As required by the Census Act, the U.S. Census Bureau submitted a list of questions to Congress on March 29, 2018. Based on those questions, the 2020 Census will ask:

  • How many people are living or staying at your home on April 1, 2020? This will help us count the entire U.S. population and ensure that we count people according to where they live on Census Day.
  • Whether the home is owned or rented. This will help us produce statistics about homeownership and renting. The rates of homeownership serve as one indicator of the nation's economy. They also help in administering housing programs and informing planning decisions.
  •  About the sex of each person in your home. This allows us to create statistics about males and females, which can be used in planning and funding government programs. This data can also be used to enforce laws, regulations, and policies against discrimination.
  • About the age of each person in your home. The U.S. Census Bureau creates statistics to better understand the size and characteristics of different age groups. Agencies use this data to plan and fund government programs that support specific age groups, including children and older adults.
  • About the race of each person in your home. This allows us to create statistics about race and to provide other statistics by racial groups. This data helps federal agencies monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions, such as those in the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.
  • About whether a person in your home is of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin. These responses help create statistics about this ethnic group. This is needed by federal agencies to monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions, such as those in the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.
  • About the relationship of each person in your home. This allows the Census Bureau to create estimates about families, households, and other groups. Relationship data is used in planning and funding government programs that support families, including people raising children alone.

Governments, businesses, communities, and nonprofits all rely on the data that these questions produce to make critical decisions.

Your answers to the 2020 Census are secure and protected by federal law, which means your answers are confidential. The law is clear; no personal information can be shared. Under Title 13 of the U.S. Code, the Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about households, individuals, businesses to any law enforcement agency or court. The data collected by the Census remains anonymous and is used for statistical purposes only.

In addition to these legal guidelines, the U.S. Census Bureau has many security measures in place to guarantee that the information collected stays safe.  

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The Census Will Never Ask Certain Questions

During the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau will never ask you for:

  • Your Social Security number.
  • Money or donations.
  • Anything on behalf of a political party.
  • Your bank or credit card account numbers.

The data collected is used:

  1. To determine the distribution of congressional seats to states.
  2. To make planning decisions about community services.
  3. To distribute more than $675 billion in federal funds to local, state and tribal governments each year. 

If someone claiming to be from the Census Bureau contacts you via email or phone and asks you for one of these things, it's a scam, and you should not cooperate. For more information, visit Avoiding Fraud and Scams.

What Happens to Your Answers?

All census data is protected by federal law and is used for statistical purposes only. It cannot be used against any person by any government agency or court. This means that no law enforcement agency (not the DHS, ICE, FBI, CIA, state or local agency) can access or use your personal information at any time. 

Your responses are compiled with information from other homes to produce statistics, which never identifies your home or any person in your home. Learn more about how we protect your information.