Skip navigation

Participation In The Census


 

Translate This Page

 
 illustration of colorful silouhettes of people

 

The Census is for everyone.

The U.S. Constitution instructs that every person living in the United States be counted during the Census. Money is allocated to Colorado based on Census counts. An analysis from George Washington University estimates that each person counted in Colorado is worth $1,481 per year.

The census counts every living person in the U.S. once, only once, and in the right place.

Completing the census is required.
It's a way to participate in our democracy and say "I COUNT!".
 
 

Participation is safe.

By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents’ answers with anyone, including other federal agencies and law enforcement entities. All Census Bureau employees take an oath of non-disclosure and are sworn for life to protect the confidentiality of the data. The penalty for unlawful disclosure is a fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment of up to five years, or both.

 
 

Census Confidentiality - is it really confidential? Absolutely!

Answers to Census questions are protected by current law (Title 13 of the U.S. Code, Section 9) and are strictly confidential.

It is illegal for the Census Bureau, or its employees, to share your personal information with any other government agency—not law enforcement, IRS, Welfare, FBI, Immigration, etc.

No court of law, not even the President of the United States, can access your responses.

  • 1953—During the Truman administration, the White House had to undergo renovation. It was necessary to relocate the President until the renovation was completed. The Secret Service requested from the Census Bureau information on residents living in the proposed relocation area for the purpose of performing background checks.

    However, because census data are Absolutely Confidential, even to the President, the request was denied.

  • Census workers must pass security and employment reference checks and are highly motivated to protect your answers. All Census Bureau employees are subject to a $250,000 FINE AND/OR A 5-YEAR PRISON TERM for disclosing any information that could identify a respondent or household.

  • 1980—Armed with a search warrant authorizing them to seize census documents, four FBI agents entered the Census Bureau’s Colorado Springs office. No confidential information was ever released because a census worker held off the agents until her superiors resolved the issue with the FBI. 

Download the Census Confidentiality Fact Sheet (PDF)

 

Have additional questions about the Census?

Here are a few answers to help you through the process.

People who live at two or more residences (during the week, month, or year), such as people who travel seasonally between residences (for example, snowbirds or children in joint custody) are counted at the residence where they live and sleep most of the time. If usual residence cannot be determined, they are counted at the residence where they are staying on Thursday, April 1, 2020 (Census Day).

College students living away from their parental home while attending college in the U.S. (living either on-campus or off-campus) are counted at the on-campus or off-campus residence where they live and sleep most of the time.

Those staying in shelter or living outdoors are counted where they are staying on April 1, 2020.

For the Internet Self-Response and Census Questionnaire Assistance, the Census Bureau will support the following 12 non-English languages:

  1. Spanish
  2. Chinese
  3. Vietnamese
  4. Korean
  5. Russian
  6. Arabic
  7. Tagalog
  8. Polish
  9. French
  10. Haitian Creole
  11. Portuguese
  12. Japanese

Each of these languages are spoken by at least 60,000 limited-English-speaking households. In addition, the Census Bureau will provide language guides, language glossaries, and a language identification card in 59 non-English languages. 

The City and County of Denver is working with partners to ensure there are ample places for you to complete your Census online. For example, you can complete your Census at any Denver Public Library location. You will also be able to complete your Census on a smartphone or other internet-enabled mobile device. 

A Census Bureau employee:

  1. Must present an ID badge which contains a photograph of the employee, the United States Department of Commerce watermark and expiration date.
  2. Will provide you with their supervisor’s contact information and/or the regional office phone number for verification, if asked.
  3. Will provide you with a letter from the Director of the Census Bureau on U.S. Census Bureau letterhead. 

The Census Bureau collects data for statistical purposes only. They combine your responses with information from other households or businesses to produce statistics, which never identify your household, any person in your household, or business. Your information is CONFIDENTIAL. They never identify you individually.

Title 13 of the U.S. Code protects the confidentiality of all your information and violating this law is a crime with severe penalties. In addition, other federal laws, including the Confidential Statistical Efficiency Act and the Privacy Act reinforce these protections. The penalty for unlawful disclosure is a fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment of up to 5 years, or both. It is against the law to disclose or publish any of the following information:

  • Names
  • Addresses, including GPS coordinates
  • Social Security numbers
  • Telephone numbers

The Census Bureau will never ask for:

  • full social security number
  • money or donations
  • anything on behalf of a political party
  • your full bank or credit card account numbers

If you are visited by someone from the United States Census Bureau, here are some recognition tips to assure the validity of the field representative;

  • Must present an ID Badge which contains: photograph of field representative, Department of Commerce watermark, and expiration date.
  • Will provide you with supervisor contact information and/or the regional office phone number for verification, if asked.
  • Will provide you with a letter from the Director of the Census Bureau on U.S. Census Bureau letterhead.
  • May be carrying a laptop and/or bag with a Census Bureau logo.

The framers used the term “citizen” 11 times in the Constitution, but in Article 1, Section 2 (3) which establishes the Census, they expressly said that the census is an enumeration of persons. The 14th Amendment of the Constitution repeats this point, stating:

“Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State...”

What this means is that in accordance to the United States Constitution, the US Census counts everyone including citizens, non-citizen legal residents, non-citizen long-term visitors, illegal immigrants and prisoners in jails and penitentiaries.

The framers used the term “citizen” 11 times in the Constitution, but in Article 1, Section 2 (3), they expressly said that the census is an enumeration of persons. The 14th Amendment of the Constitution repeats this point, stating:

“Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State...

What this means is that in accordance to the United States Constitution, the US Census counts everyone including citizens, non-citizen legal residents, non-citizen long-term visitors, illegal immigrants and prisoners in jails and penitentiaries.

In December 2017, the Justice Department has requested that the US Census Bureau include a question about citizenship status in the 2020 Census form. At this time, the matter is still pending. The Census has until the end of March, 2018 to submit proposed questions to Congress. It’s up to Congress to enact legislation stating what the Census questions will be. Advocates for a fair and complete count generally oppose adding questions regarding citizenship status, for fear that it will discourage census participation among non-citizens, a group that has historically been undercounted in previous censuses.

To share your views on this question, contact your Congressional representatives.

People away from their usual residence on Census Day, such as on a vacation or a business trip, visiting, traveling outside the U.S., or working elsewhere without a usual residence there (for example, as a truck driver or traveling salesperson) are counted at the residence where they live and sleep most of the time.

People who live at two or more residences (during the week, month, or year), such as people who travel seasonally between residences (for example, snowbirds or children in joint custody) are counted at the residence where they live and sleep most of the time. If usual residence cannot be determined, they are counted at the residence where they are staying on Thursday, April 1, 2020 (Census Day). College students living away from their parental home while attending college in the U.S. (living either on-campus or off-campus) are counted at the on-campus or off-campus residence where they live and sleep most of the time. Those staying in shelter or living outdoors are counted where they are staying on April 1, 2020.

The nation should see the very first results from the 2020 Census in the form of total population counts for the nation and each state in late 2020 or early 2021. In 2021 each state receives local-level 2020 Census data on race and the voting age population. As required by law, the Census Bureau will provide these key demographic data to the states (on a state-by-state basis), so the state governments can redraw the boundaries of their U.S. Congressional and state legislative districts. Public Law 94-171 requires that the redistricting data must be delivered to state officials responsible for legislative redistricting within one year of Census day or no later than April 1, 2021.

 

U.S. & World Population Clock


Visit Census.gov's website to see population estimates and related data for the U.S. and the world.

 

In the News


Check out various news stories about the 2020 census, from the State of Colorado's website.

 

Have Questions?


Kaye Kavanagh, Census Coordinator
720-913-8429
Census2020@denvergov.org