Three ways to respond to the 2020 Census

By Ardith Van Riper

     You can answer online, by phone, or by mail.  Mid-March, the Census Bureau mail invitations to respond to the 2020 Census.  The letter will include instructions for replying. 

     Once you receive detailed information in the mail, you can respond.  It typically takes ten minutes to complete, and federal law mandates participation.

     Depending on where you live, invitations may or may not include a paper questionnaire.  Areas less likely to respond online will receive a paper questionnaire that they can complete and return in the mail. 

     The invitation will also have a phone number that you can call to respond to the questions.

     For the first time, you can complete the 2020 Census online, anytime, anywhere, using any device.  Households receiving an invitation to respond online will include a unique household ID and web address of the official Census Bureau website.  The Census Bureau ensures its new online system is safe and has made safeguards against cyber threats.

     The Census Bureau will not send unsolicited emails to request your participation.  Phishing is a criminal act in which someone tries to get your personal information by pretending to be an entity that you trust.  Phishing emails often direct you to a website that looks legitimate but is fake. 

     The Census Bureau will never ask for your social security number, your bank account numbers or credit card numbers, or money.  If someone claiming to be from the Census Bureau contacts you via email or phone and asks for these things, you should not cooperate.  It’s a scam.

     If someone visits your home to collect a response for the Census, you can verify their identity.  Check to make sure that they have a valid ID badge, with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and expiration date.  You can call 800-923-8282 if you still have questions about their identity.  If it is determined that the visitor does not work for the Census Bureau, contact your local police.

     The deadline to respond is July 31.