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Conducting the Count

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The 2020 Census was a massive undertaking. It required counting a diverse and growing population in the United States. To do this, the U.S. Census Bureau:

  • Made a list of every residence in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories—including houses, apartments, dormitories, military barracks, and more.
  • Asked a member of every residence to complete the census online, by phone, or by mail.
  • Followed up with homes that did not respond on their own.

 

Collecting Responses

There are three ways that the Census Bureau initially collected responses from people for the 2020 Census: online, by phone, and by mail.

Between March 12-20, most households received an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrived, people could respond online, by phone, or by mail.

The Census Bureau then followed up—in person or over the phone—with homes that did not respond to the census on their own.

 


You may receive have received a call from the Census Bureau to remind you to respond to the 2020 Census or to ask clarifying questions about your responses.

Counting Everyone in the Right Place

To ensure a complete and accurate count, the Census Bureau counted people at their usual residence, which was the place where they lived and slept most of the time, with a few exceptions. For more details about where people were counted, you can view the Who to Count page.

The Census Bureau has special processes in place to ensure that everyone in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories was counted. 

Click the links below to learn more about counting the following groups:

Response Rates

Explore these maps of response rates to see how many people in your community responded to the 2020 Census. 

Sign up to receive updates when 2020 Census results become available.


The 2020 Census began by counting people in remote Alaskan villages and communities in January to account for travel challenges in the spring months.

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