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Information for American Indians and Alaska Natives

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How Should I Respond?

The 2020 Census is underway, and if you’ve received an invitation in the mail to respond, you can now complete your census online or by phone. If you’ve received a paper questionnaire, you can also return that by mail.

If you have not yet received anything from the U.S. Census Bureau, don’t worry. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have adjusted some 2020 Census operations to protect the health and safety of our employees and the public.

In keeping with guidance from public health officials, we’ve delayed dropping off invitations at the front doors of homes that were scheduled to receive materials in person. In some of these cases, we’ve mailed previously planned letters to homes in the interest of providing a Census ID to help you respond online or by phone.

Overall, this delay will help ensure that we can count everyone, in every community. Once you’ve received your form, please respond as soon as possible.

One person in each home should complete the census questionnaire for everyone living there. They should be sure to count relatives, nonrelatives, babies, and other children. If you do not have a permanent residence, you should be counted where you were living on April 1, 2020.

If you self-identify as American Indian or Alaska Native, you should check the American Indian or Alaska Native box on your census form. You should then print or type the name of your enrolled or principal tribe in the write-in area.

You may mark one or more of the race categories and enter multiple tribes or multiple detailed groups. Each write-in area will record up to 200 characters and up to six detailed groups.

Guides in English, Navajo and large print, as well as video tutorials are available on our Language Support page. These guides include instructions on how to respond to the census. You can also visit Contact Us for information on requesting help by phone.

Why Should I Respond?

The 2020 Census is an opportunity to provide a better future for your community and future generations.

Every 10 years, the United States counts everyone living in the country. American Indian and Alaska Native tribes do not share enrollment numbers with the government, so it is important for everyone in these communities to participate in the 2020 Census.

The federal government and local American Indian and Alaska Native leaders and decision-makers will use 2020 Census data in a variety of ways that can benefit Native people and their communities, including decisions about funding and planning for housing grants, education programs, and health services. 

Your responses will help determine how billions of dollars in federal funds are distributed to communities and tribes for programs and grants. Census results also help determine how many seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In addition, many tribal communities use census information to attract new businesses and plan for growth. Many tribes and tribal organizations also use census data to plan new facilities and programs for their communities.

Your Responses Are Protected

When you respond to the census, your answers are kept anonymous. The U.S. Census Bureau is bound by law to protect your responses and keep them strictly confidential.

The law ensures that your private information is never published or shared with any other government or law enforcement agencies, including federal, local, and tribal authorities.

Need Help?

Did you know the Census Bureau has information available in Navajo? If you are a Navajo speaker, learn more, or explore the English large print guide.

Tribal Complete Count Committees

Learn more about how Complete Count Committees help support tribal areas, and find one near you.