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Conducting the Count


The Census Bureau is calling some households to ask questions about their responses to the 2020 Census, to collect responses if they haven't responded yet, or to ask about their experience completing the questionnaire.   



The 2020 Census is a massive undertaking. It requires counting a diverse and growing population in the United States and the five U.S. territories. To do this, the U.S. Census Bureau must:

  • Make an accurate list of every residence in the U.S. and five U.S. territories—including houses, apartments, dormitories, military barracks, and more.
  • Get a member of every residence to complete the census online, by phone, or by mail.
  • Follow up with homes that have not responded.


Monitoring COVID-19

Since the suspension of field operations in mid-March, Census Bureau leadership has continually assessed operational plans, Federal, state and local guidance, and the status of COVID-19 cases to ensure that the 2020 Census can fulfill its mission. 

Collecting Responses

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

In March 2020, many homes received an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Once your invitation arrives, you should respond for your home.

Starting in July 2020, the Census Bureau began following up with homes that have not responded to the census.  In addition, Mobile Questionnaire Assistance is available in some areas. 






Census Bureau staff visit key public locations like grocery stores, houses of worship, and community centers to help people respond to the 2020 Census on either a tablet or mobile device.



The 2020 Census is for everyone. 



Counting Everyone in the Right Place

To ensure a complete and accurate count, the Census Bureau counts people at their usual residence, which is the place where they live and sleep most of the time, with a few exceptions. People who do not have a usual residence should be counted where they were on Census Day (April 1, 2020).

The Census Bureau has special processes in place to ensure that everyone in the United States and five U.S. territories is counted. To learn more, please visit the following pages:

If you have questions about how to count yourself, or someone in your family, visit Who to Count.


Response Rates

How many people in your community have already responded to the 2020 Census? Stay up to date with a map of self-response rates from across the United States. 


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

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