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2020 Census: Home


In 2020, the Census will be conducted primarily online for the first time. Like past e-government efforts, this will likely impact libraries and libraries' technology resources as staff work to assist people in participating in the Census. The 2020 Census also presents an opportunity to increase public awareness and use of Census data. We are advocating for a fair, accurate, and inclusive Census that recognizes the roles libraries will play in this vital civic effort.

2020 Census Timeline

  • January 2020 - Census Questionnaire Assistance will be available to answer general questions about the census from January–September 2020.
  • February 2020 - The Census Bureau will contact administrators of group quarters (military barracks, college dorms, prisons, and skilled nursing homes, among others) in advance of the enumeration of these locations (April 2020).
  • March 12, 2020 - The internet self-response period begins. Households will receive invitations to respond through mail or hand-delivered to households in many rural and remote areas. Households may continue to self-respond through July 31.
  • March 30, 2020 - Service-Based Enumeration (SBE) will begin. This three-day/night enumeration occurs at shelters, locations that provide services for people experiencing homelessness, and targeted outdoor locations where people experiencing homelessness sleep. 
  • April 1, 2020 - Census Day! Respondents do not have to wait until April 1 to respond but should include everyone who will be a "usual resident" on April 1. If people aren't sure, they can wait until April 1 to respond. 
  • July 2020 - A postcard to those that have not responded to the Census will be mailed out as a reminder.
  • August 2020 - Door-to-door follow up will begin with residents that have not responded to the Census. 
  • October 31, 2020 - Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Census Bureau has extended the deadline to respond to the Census. 

The Census is Hiring!

The Census Bureau will be hiring 500,000 temporary employees across the country to help carry out the 2020 Census count, including census takers, office staff, recruiting assistants, and supervisory staff.

For those with criminal records, the Census Bureau makes hiring decisions on a case-by-case basis, following a background check that includes fingerprinting and a records search.

Non-citizens may be hired by the Census Bureau for temporary census jobs when a qualified citizen is not available provided that they are work-authorized.

Why is the Census Important?

Census data are used to make decisions about how and where to spend more than $800 billion each year for programs and services that communities rely on.

  • Representation: The decennial count of all U.S. residents is required by the U.S. Constitution to determine representation in Congress and the Electoral College. This data is also the basis for drawing districts for federal, state, and local offices (redistricting).
  • Funding: The Census is key to the allocation of billions of dollars in federal funding to states and localities (such as grants to states under the Library Services and Technology Act).
  • Information: Data resulting from the Census is widely used by researchers, governments, businesses, and other organizations (for example, to plan for library services).

Libraries and the Census

  • Partners in E-Government: In 2020, the Census Bureau for the first time will encourage residents to complete the Census questionnaire online, starting in March 2020. Like past e-government efforts, this likely will place additional demands on library staff and technology resources to enable people to complete the Census questionnaire. (Other response methods will also be available.) Libraries can use their experience partnering with the government to assist their communities in achieving a fair, accurate, and inclusive count.
  • Education and Community Outreach: Libraries have the opportunity to educate their communities about the Census. In the 2010 Census, more than 6,000 library locations hosted Census Bureau outreach activities.
  • Public Spaces: Census Bureau field staff often utilize community rooms in libraries as affordable temporary workspaces, such as for staff hiring and training. Other community stakeholders may also use library meeting rooms to host events related to the 2020 Census.

Response Rates

Complete Count Committee and Regional Office

Denver Regional Office

Serving Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wyoming
(720)962-3700 or 1-800-852-6159
TDD: (303)969-6767


This LibGuide was adapted from a template created by the University of Maine and New York State Library.