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The 2020 Census Speaks More Languages

Over 99% of all U.S. households will be able to respond to the census in their language

Release Number CB20-CN.25
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MARCH 9, 2020 – As invitations to respond to the 2020 Census begin hitting mailboxes this week, the U.S. Census Bureau wants you to know you can respond in more languages than ever before. In fact, over 99% of the nation’s households will be able to respond to the once-a-decade population count online or by phone in the language they speak at home.

“By giving households the option to respond online or by phone in English and 12 additional languages, we are giving residents the tools they need to be counted and encouraging them to shape their futures,” said Steven Dillingham, director of the Census Bureau.

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Census invitations arriving between March 12 and March 20 will include an insert in the 12 non-English languages, inviting people to respond online or by phone in their language. These languages, ranked by the number of limited-English-speaking households according to American Community Survey data collected from 2012 to 2016, include:

  • Spanish
  • Chinese (online in Simplified Chinese and by phone in Mandarin and Cantonese)
  • Vietnamese
  • Korean
  • Russian
  • Arabic
  • Tagalog
  • Polish
  • French
  • Haitian Creole
  • Portuguese
  • Japanese

About 13 million households (roughly 9%) will receive invitations in both English and Spanish. These bilingual invitations will go to all households in census tracts (areas with about 4,000 households) where 20% or more of the households primarily speak Spanish, according to American Community Survey data collected from 2013 to 2017.

Households in areas less likely to respond online will also receive a paper questionnaire with the initial invitation. Beginning April 8, households that have not yet responded will receive a paper questionnaire. (Households receiving bilingual invitations will receive bilingual English/Spanish paper questionnaires.)

Beginning in mid-May, census takers across the nation—many bilingual—will visit households that haven’t responded to collect responses in person.

Language Support

The Census Bureau is providing video guides narrated in 59 non-English languages (including American Sign Language) to help people respond online and print guides written in the 59 non-English languages to help people complete the English paper questionnaire. Guides are also available in Braille and large print English.

Additionally, beginning March 12, the Census Bureau will offer live, non-English help by phone between 7 a.m. – 2 a.m. ET.

Below are phone numbers for help in specified languages:

Telephone Display Device (TDD) 844-467-2020 will also be available for people who have hearing impairments. 

Outreach

The Census Bureau is also advertising and developing outreach materials in English and the 12 languages and providing glossaries in 59 non-English languages with translations of key words related to the census to help communities and 2020 Census partners with their outreach activities.

2020 Census resources and materials are available online in English and these 59 languages:

American Sign Language
Albanian
Amharic
Arabic
Amenian
Bengali
Bosnian
Bulgarian
Burmese
Chinese
Croatian
Czech
Dutch
Farsi
French
German
Greek
Gujarati
Haitian Creole
Hebrew

Hindi
Hmong
Hungarian
Igbo
Ilocano
Indonesian
Italian
Japanese
Khmer
Korean
Laotian
Lithuanian
Malayalam
Marathi
Navajo
Nepali
Polish
Portuguese
Punjabi
Romanian

Russian
Serbian
Sinhala
Spanish
Slovak
Somali
Swahili
Tagalog
Tamil
Telugu
Thai
Tigrinya
Turkish
Twi
Ukrainian
Urdu
Vietnamese
Yiddish
Yoruba

The Census Bureau has hired local partnership staff who speak nearly 50 non-English languages in total. These staff are partnering with community organizations to explain how easy, safe and important it is to respond to the 2020 Census.

Press Kits

For more information, visit 2020census.gov/languages or access our press kit, 2020 Census Non-English Language Support. Also check out the non-English electronic press kits below:

The U.S. Constitution mandates a census of the population every 10 years. Responding to the 2020 Census is easy, safe and important, and it’s key to shaping the future of communities. The goal of the 2020 Census is to count everyone who lives in the United States as of April 1, 2020 (Census Day). Census statistics are used to determine the number of seats each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives and informs how billions of dollars in public funds are allocated by state, local and federal lawmakers for public services like emergency response, schools, hospitals and bridges over the next 10 years.

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