Frequently Asked Questions about the 2020 Census Form
Updated: Feb 11
The 2020 Census is easy. You will answer a simple questionnaire about yourself and everyone who is living with you on April 1, 2020.
Explore the questions you'll be asked on your 2020 Census form. You'll find tips for responding and information on how the Census Bureau will use your answers.
1. How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2020?
Here, you'll count everyone living and sleeping in your home most of the time, including young children, roommates, and friends and family members who are living with you, even temporarily.
Why they ask this question: This helps us count the entire U.S. population and ensures that we count people where they live most of the time as of Census Day (April 1, 2020).
2. Were there any additional people staying here on April 1, 2020, that you did not include in Question 1?
Mark all that apply: Children, related or unrelated, such as newborn babies, grandchildren, or foster children; relatives, such as adult children, cousins, or in-laws; nonrelatives, such as roommates or live-in babysitters, and people staying here temporarily.
Why they ask this question: The goal of the 2020 Census is to count everyone just once and in the right place. We want to ensure that everyone in your home who should be counted is counted—including newborns, roommates, and those who may be staying with you temporarily.
3. Is this house, apartment, or mobile home (mark ONE box) ...
...Owned by you or someone in this household with a mortgage or loan? Include home equity loans. Is it owned by you or someone in this household free and clear (without a mortgage or loan)? Rented? Occupied without payment of rent?
Why they ask this question: This helps us produce statistics about homeownership and renting. The rates of homeownership serve as one indicator of the nation's economy. They also help with administering housing programs, planning, and decision-making.
4. What is your telephone number?
Why they ask this question: The Census Bureau asks for your phone number in case there are any questions about your census form. They will only contact you for official census business, if needed.
5. What is Person 1's name?
If there is someone living here who pays the rent or owns the residence, start by listing him or her as Person 1. If the owner or the person who pays the rent does not live here, start by listing any adult living there as Person 1. There will be opportunities to list the names of additional members of your household.
Why they ask this question: The Census Bureau asks a series of questions about each member of your household. This allows us to establish one central figure as a starting point.
6. What is Person 1's sex?
Mark ONE box: male or female. You can also mark both.
Why they ask this question: This allows us to create statistics about males and females, which can be used in planning and funding government programs. This data can also be used to enforce laws, regulations, and policies against discrimination.
7. What is Person 1's age and what is Person 1's date of birth?
Note Person 1's age as of April 1, 2020. For babies less than 1 year old, do not write the age in months. Write 0 as the age.
Why they ask this question: The U.S. Census Bureau creates statistics to better understand the size and characteristics of different age groups. Agencies use this data to plan and fund government programs that support specific age groups, including children and older adults. (Read more about Counting Young Children.)
8. Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?
NOTE: Please answer both Question 8 about Hispanic origin and Question 9 about race. For this census, Hispanic origins are not races. Hispanic origin can be viewed as the heritage, nationality, lineage, or country of birth of the person or the person’s parents or ancestors before arriving in the United States. People who identify as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish may be any race.
Why they ask this question: These responses help create statistics about this ethnic group. This helps federal agencies monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions, such as those in the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.
9. What is Person 1's race?
Mark one or more boxes AND print origins: White; Black or African American; American Indian or Alaska Native; Chinese; Filipino; Asian Indian; Vietnamese; Korean; Japanese; other Asian; Native Hawaiian; Samoan; Chamorro; other Pacific Islander; some other race.
Why they ask this question: This allows us to create statistics about race and to analyze other statistics within racial groups. This data helps federal agencies monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions, such as those in the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.
10. Print name of Person 2.
Here, you will list the next person in your household.
Why they ask this question: The 2020 Census asks information about each member of your household. This question identifies the next person to refer to in the ensuing questions. This process repeats for each person in your home.
11. Does this person usually live or stay somewhere else?
Mark all that apply: no; yes, for college; yes, for a military assignment; yes, for a job or business; yes, in a nursing home; yes, with a parent or other relative; yes, at a seasonal or second residence; yes, in a jail or prison; yes, for another reason.
Why they ask this question: This question helps ensure that the Census Bureau is counting everyone once, only once, and in the right place. If you have questions about whether or not to include someone, visit Who To Count.
12. How is this person related to Person 1?
Mark ONE box; opposite-sex husband/wife/spouse; opposite-sex unmarried partner; same-sex husband/wife/spouse; same-sex unmarried partner; biological son or daughter; adopted son or daughter; stepson or stepdaughter; brother or sister; father or mother; grandchild; parent-in-law; son-in-law or daughter-in-law; other relative; roommate or housemate; foster child; other nonrelative.
Why they ask this question: This allows the Census Bureau to develop data about families, households, and other groups. Relationship data is used in planning and funding government programs that support families, including people raising children alone.
The Census Will Never Ask Certain Questions
During the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau will never ask you for:
- Your Social Security number
- Money or donations
- Anything on behalf of a political party
- Your bank or credit card account numbers.
If someone claiming to be from the Census Bureau contacts you via email or phone and asks you for one of these things, it's a scam, and you should not cooperate. For more information, visit Avoiding Fraud and Scams.
What Happens to Your Answers?
Your personal information is kept confidential. The Census Bureau is bound by federal law to protect your information, and your data is used only for statistical purposes.
Your responses are compiled with information from other homes to produce statistics, which never identify your home or any person in your home. Learn more about how we protect your information.