Happy Census Day!

April 1, 2020

By Leslie Wallin, Supervising Attorney and Volunteer Coordinator

Happy National Census Day!

Here is a quick introduction to the Census:

What is the census?

The count of every person who lives in the U.S. (and territories). It happens once every 10 years.

I’m an immigrant/ I’m not a citizendoes the census count me?

Yes!! The census counts everyone, regardless of immigration or citizenship status.

Why have the census?

First, the Constitution requires it. Second, it determines how much funding your city and state gets for schools, public housing, hospitals, roads, etc. Third, it determines how many representatives your state gets in the U.S. House.

What questions does the census ask?

Simple questions: your age, sex, race, ethnicity, and the number of people living in your home (including kids).

What questions don’t they ask?

The census NEVER asks for Social Security numbers, bank/credit card numbers, donations, money, or anything related to political parties. THE CENSUS WILL NOT ASK YOU ABOUT YOUR CITIZENSHIP.

I am not documented. Is it safe to answer the census?


  • The census will not ask about your citizenship.
  • You don’t need a Social Security number to take the census.
  • Your answers are only used as statistics. It’s against the law for your information to be used by ICE, the police, the FBI, CIA, DHS, or any other agency or court.
  • If Census Bureau workers share your information, they can be fined and imprisoned.
  • Your information is confidential and will not affect your eligibility for any government benefits.

I still don’t want to participate. What if I ignore the census?

Participating in the census is required by law, and you can be fined if you don’t participate in or lie on the census.

How do I participate? Am I too late?

It’s not too late. You are urged to participate online, by phone, or by mail. If you don’t, the census will send workers to your house. To lessen the risk of COVID-19 exposure, you should reply online, by phone, or by mail.

  • On-line: my2020census.gov. If you got a mailing, you should have a Census ID. If you don’t have yours, you can still complete it, using your address.
  • By phone: 1-844-330-2020.
  • By mail: If you don’t respond online or by phone, they will send you a paper questionnaire.

If you have any questions, contact the Census Bureau at 800-923-8282 or 2020census.gov, or contact CARPLS at 312-738-9200.

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