2020 United States Census
What is the 2020 Census?
The 2020 Census counts the population in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). The count is mandated by the Constitution and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency. Each home will receive an invitation to a short questionnaire to be completed online, by phone, or by mail.
Why is the Census Important?
The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and your community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data.
The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.
It’s also in the Constitution: Article 1, Section 2, mandates that the country conduct a count of its population once every 10 years.
The 2020 Census at a Glance[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]
Property managers are critical to the success of the 2020 Census. As a trusted voice among your residents, you can raise awareness of the 2020 Census and increase response. Your efforts will help provide accurate data to improve communities across the nation.
What do properties need to do?
- Share information with residents so they know when and what to expect.
- Provide census takers access to properties to help residents complete their forms if they haven’t already done so.
- Encourage residents to complete the census information sent to them. Beginning in May 2020, the Census Bureau begins visiting homes that haven’t responded to the census. Keep traffic in your properties to a minimum by encouraging residents to complete the information in a timely manner.
Is the 2020 Census secure? Who is considered a “duly accredited representative” of the Department of Commerce?
Yes. A U.S. Census worker/duly accredited representative of the Department of Commerce is required to carry on their person a badge that bears the seal of the Bureau of the Census. The individual’s badge should also contain a photographic identification of the individual. The personally identifiable information they collect is kept confidential by law.
What sections(s) of the lease can you refer to if/when a resident complains about disclosure of their name(s) and/or access that was provided to the U.S. Census worker(s)?
The typical language that every NAA lease contains reads as follows:
DISCLOSURE RIGHTS. If someone requests information on you or your rental history for law-enforcement, governmental, or business purposes, we may provide it.
Please go to the additional resources tab to find a flyer for residents. This flyer can be used to send in newsletters, email out, or hand to each resident.
What’s in it for residents?
The 2020 Census is an opportunity to create a better future for our communities and the next generation by providing an up-to-date count of our population. The data collected will help determine how over $675 billion in federal funding is distributed each year for things like housing assistance, infrastructure, and public transportation.
To ensure an accurate count, remember to:
- Count every person living or staying in your home.
- Respond at the address where you were living or staying on April 1, 2020
Responding to the 2020 Census is:
- Easy: Every household in the United States will receive a notice to complete the census in early 2020. You can complete the form online, by phone, or by mail.
- Safe: Your personal information is confidential, is protected by law, and can never be used to identify you. It can never be shared with law enforcement agencies or your property manager.
- Important: Businesses and leaders in your community will use the data collected in the census to make decisions about where to build new buildings, revitalize old ones, open stores, create jobs,
What does the federal law require from properties?
- Access to multifamily buildings.
- Names of the persons occupying.
- Number of persons occupying.
What happens if properties do not comply with the 2020 Census?
- The penalty for refusing and/or willfully neglecting to permit the U.S. Census worker free egress and free ingress and/or furnish the U.S. Census worker the names of the occupants of the premises is $500 per offense.
- Each “request” for information can be identified as a separate offense/penalty, meaning the fees for not complying can add up for large apartment communities.
2020 Census Timeline
Counting every person living in the United States is a massive undertaking, and efforts begin years in advance. Here’s a look at some of the key dates along the way:
- January 2020: The Census Bureau begins counting the population in remote Alaska.
- April 1, 2020: Census Day is observed nationwide. By this date, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrives, you should respond for your home in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail. When you respond to the census, you tell the Census Bureau where you live as of April 1, 2020.
- April 2020: Census takers begin visiting college students who live on campus, people living in senior centers, and others who live among large groups of people. Census takers also begin conducting quality check interviews to help ensure an accurate count.
- May 2020: The Census Bureau begins visiting homes that haven’t responded to the 2020 Census to make sure everyone is counted.
- December 2020: The Census Bureau delivers apportionment counts to the President and Congress as required by law.
- March 31, 2021: By this date, the Census Bureau will send redistricting counts to states. This information is used to redraw legislative districts based on population changes.
Additional Helpful Resources