Beginning in March, the U.S. Census Bureau will invite households across the country to participate in the 2020 Census survey. The Census survey is conducted every 10 years. It is required by the Constitution and it is critically important to communities because census data is used to determine things like representation in Congress and allocation of federal and state funds. More than $675 billion will be distributed each year for schools, roads, hospitals, senior centers, and other public services, all based on Census data.
Invitations to respond to the 2020 Census will be delivered between March 12 and March 20. Once you receive that invitation, you can respond online, by phone, or by mail. For questions about the upcoming count contact: email@example.com or check out the 2020 Census website for more information. Answers to the most frequently asked questions are posted below.
SCLSNJ is proud to be a part of the Somerset County Complete Count Committee’s education and outreach effort.
Frequently Asked Questions
Every 10 years, people across the country and in New Jersey fill out the Census in order to have an accurate count of all the people in the United States.
The Census determines New Jersey’s federal funding for important community services that help support our families and fair share of representation in New Jersey and Washington D.C.
The Census is nearly as old as the United States itself.
- Mid-March 2020: An invitation to respond to the Census online will be sent to every residence sometime between 12-20 March 2020.
- End of March 2020: A reminder letter and a reminder postcard will both be sent out at the end of March to the beginning of April.
- Beginning of April 2020: If you still haven’t responded, a reminder letter AND a paper questionnaire will be sent between April 8-16.
- End of April 2020: A final reminder is sent between April 20-27 before a Census employee comes out to visit in person.
Every person in the country is required to fill out the 2020 Census form.
You have three ways to respond:
- By Phone: The Census can be completed by phone in 13 languages including Telecommunications Device for the Deaf.
- Online: For the first time, the Census form will be available to complete online in 13 languages.
- In-Person: A designated Enumerator visit to your home to collect your responses to the 2020 Census directly.
All 10 branches at the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) are safe, secure, easily-accessible locations to fill out your Census survey. When you use the Library’s internet computers, we don’t keep track of any information about who you are or what you’re doing. Your internet history is discarded as soon as you log out, and any information you submit for the Census will only be available to the Census Bureau.
The 2020 Census will help decide how billions of dollars will reach our families. Your answers will help determine funding for dozens of programs that provide essential resources to New Jerseyans. Census data determines funding allocations for schools, child care programs, road maintenance projects, and social assistance programs.
The 2020 Census will ensure the health and wellness of our families and neighborhoods. By filling out this form, your data informs where new hospitals are built, improves our health programs, and increases jobs and business opportunities.
The 2020 Census will determine the number of representatives New Jersey has in the U.S. House of Representatives and the number of votes we have in the Electoral College. Your information will also be used to redraw State Assembly and Senate boundaries. Participating in the 2020 Census ensures that you and your communities have fair representation.
The census asks how many people are living or staying in your household, and whether the home is owned or rented. Questions are also asked about age, race, ethnic identity, and relationships of people living at your address. A sample copy of the census questionnaire can be found here.
If you are filling out the census for your home, you should count everyone who is living there as of April 1, 2020. This includes anyone who is living and sleeping there most of the time. If someone is staying in your home on April 1, and has no usual home elsewhere, you should count them in your response to the 2020 Census.
Everyone living in each household, including newborns, older individuals, and people who are not family members, should be counted on the household’s 2020 Census form.
You can complete the Census survey in about 10 minutes.
As of July 2019, you may have received the 2019 Census Test – a trial run for the 2020 Census (which won’t start until early January 2020). The 2019 Census Test will randomly assign households to two panels and ask them to respond to the 2020 Census questions.
You could also have been randomly selected for a Census survey. It is important to verify that the survey is legitimate, because there have been reports of scams.
|On or Between||You’ll Receive:|
|March 12 – 20||An invitation to respond online to the 2020 Census. (Some households will also receive a paper questionnaire.)|
|March 16 – 24||A reminder letter.|
|If You Haven’t Responded:|
|March 26 – April 3||A reminder postcard.|
|April 8 – 16||A reminder letter and paper questionnaire.|
|April 20 – 27||A final reminder postcard before follow up in person.|
You can skip questions, submit an incomplete census form, and still be included in the count. Returning a partially filled-out questionnaire may result in a follow-up phone call or visit from a census worker.
You can still complete the questionnaire without having received a questionnaire in the mail and without the code that was mailed to you. All you need to provide is your address instead.
You can call 844-330-2020 for support or visit https://www.2020census.gov/.
You can call 844-330-2020 for support or visit the United States Census Bureau glossary at https://www.census.gov/glossary/ and use the search box to type in the term you need help to understand.
The United States Census Bureau is required by law to protect any personal information it collects and keep it confidential.
The United States Census Bureau is bound by Title 13 of the United States Code. These laws not only provide the Bureau with authority for its work, but also stipulate protections for the information the Census collects from individuals and businesses.
United States Census Bureau employees are sworn to protect confidentiality. Every person with access to data is sworn for life to protect personal information and understands that the penalties for violating this law are applicable for a lifetime.
Violating confidentiality or sharing the information other than for statistical purposes is a serious federal crime. Anyone who violates this law will face severe penalties, including a federal prison sentence of up to five years, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.
No law enforcement agency (not the DHS, ICE, FBI, or CIA) can access or use your personal information at any time.
The United States Census Bureau uses responses to produce statistics.
Private information may not be published when it is collected. After 72 years, it may be published for historical purposes by the National Archives. It is against the law to disclose or publish any private information that identifies an individual or business, such as names, addresses (including GPS coordinates), Social Security numbers, and telephone numbers.
Answers cannot be used for law enforcement purposes or to determine personal eligibility for government benefits.
Personal information cannot be used against respondents for the purposes of immigration enforcement.
The 2020 Census questionnaire will NOT include a question about an individual’s citizenship status. Everyone, regardless of their immigration status, has certain basic rights.
For those who have concerns about opening your doors, there are other ways you can participate. You can participate from the comfort of your home online and over the phone, or at community-run assistance centers.
Please complete your Census questionnaire. An incomplete questionnaire may increase your chances of nonresponse follow-up by the United States Census Bureau. Households will receive an invitation to respond online to the 2020 Census beginning March 12, 2020. Your participation is vital, and your information is protected.
It is critical to be cautious of any requests that seem suspicious.
The United States Census Bureau will never ask the following:
—Payment to fill out the questionnaire
—Social Security number
—Financial information; bank or credit card account numbers
—Anything on behalf of a Political Party
—Money or donations
United States Census Bureau field staff will always show a valid Census Bureau ID. You can confirm that they are a United States Census Bureau employee by entering their name into the United States Census Bureau Staff Search or by contacting the New Jersey Regional Office.
It is a federal crime to impersonate a federal official, and anyone who violates this law is subject to imprisonment.
Census Questionnaire Assistance Phone Numbers
Starting March 9, respondents can call these toll-free numbers for assistance or to respond to the 2020 Census by phone.
Chinese (Mandarin): 844-391-2020
Chinese (Cantonese): 844-398-2020
Haitian Creole: 844-477-2020
English (Puerto Rico residents):
Spanish (Puerto Rico residents):
Telephone Display Device (TDD):