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Who Is Required To Respond?

Everyone living in the United States and its five territories is required by law to be counted in the 2020 Census.


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Why It's Required

Getting a complete and accurate census count is critically important. That's why your response is required by law. If you do not respond, the U.S. Census Bureau will follow up in person to collect your response.

Why is the census so important? The results are used to determine how much funding local communities receive for key public services and how many seats each state gets in Congress. State and local officials also use census counts to draw boundaries for congressional, state legislative, and school districts.

And while you are required by law to participate, the Census Bureau is also required by law to protect your answers. Your responses are used only to produce statistics. The Census Bureau does not disclose any personal information.

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Special Living Situations

People in some special living situations may have questions about how to respond. This includes:

  • Students.
  • Service members.
  • People in correctional facilities.
  • People who move on Census Day (April 1, 2020).
  • People who do not have fixed addresses.

Visit Who To Count for information on how people in these groups will be counted.

Participation in Other Census Surveys

The Census Bureau will continue to conduct other surveys, like the American Community Survey or the new survey to evaluate COVID-19 impacts. If you are contacted about another survey via mail, or email, it is very important to participate. You are still required to respond to the 2020 Census even if you participate in another survey.