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How the Census Bureau Protects Your Data

The U.S. Census Bureau is bound by law to protect your answers and keep them strictly confidential. In fact, every employee takes an oath to protect your personal information for life.


Our Legal Duty To Protect Your Information

The Census Bureau is bound by Title 13 of the U.S. Code to keep your information confidential.

This law protects your answers to the 2020 Census. Under Title 13, the Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about you, your home, or your business to law enforcement agencies. The law ensures that your private data is protected and that your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court. That means your responses will not impact your eligibility for government benefits.

Violating Title 13 is a federal crime, punishable by prison time and/or a fine of up to $250,000.

The answers you provide are used only to produce population and demographic statistics about communities, states, and the country as a whole. You are kept anonymous: The Census Bureau is not permitted to publicly release your responses in any way that could identify you or anyone else in your home.

Data Protection and Privacy Program

Being responsible stewards of your data is not only required by law but also embedded in Census Bureau culture. Strict policies and statistical safeguards help protect the confidentiality of your information. Before releasing data products, the Census Bureau verifies that they meet its confidentiality standards.

We are protecting 2020 results with advanced privacy protection systems designed specifically for digital age threats. One such way the Census Bureau protects your responses against current and future confidentiality threats is by employing a technique called "differential privacy." This technique masks personally identifiable data while keeping it accurate and useful.

To learn more about how we process the results of the 2020 Census, visit the Conducting the Count page.

Secure Technology

From the beginning of the data collection process, the Census Bureau follows industry best practices and federal requirements to protect your data.

The security of Census Bureau systems is a top priority, and our IT infrastructure is designed to defend against and contain cyberthreats. We continually refine our approach to identifying, preventing, detecting, and responding to these threats.

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

Outreach Materials

The Census Bureau provides posters and fact sheets to help spread awareness of how we protect your data. Spread the word:

Awareness Poster - Confidentiality (Option 1)

Awareness Posters - Confidentiality

Explain that census responses are safe and confidential.