2020 Census Begins; Official Forms Start Arriving in Mailboxes
Responses Can Be Made Online, By Phone, By Mail; Even Before Census Day April 1
Between now and Friday, March 20, Connecticut residents can expect to receive a Census notification in the mail. The official Census Bureau invitation, to be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service, will include detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census. Individuals responding submit one census form listing everyone who lives in their household.
Households throughout the state should be aware that, as they receive their mail in the coming days, the
official invitation is to be expected. Although the day of the official nationwide count is April 1, residents will receive notification beginning tomorrow, and can provide the required information prior to April 1.
Households are encouraged to respond when they receive their invitation.
In areas where 20 percent or more of the households speak Spanish, the invitations will be in both English and Spanish.
“It is important for Connecticut residents to know that mailing starts this week and if they are uncertain about whether it is official correspondence they should call the Census Bureau at (800) 923-8282 or they could go to www.2020census.gov to see images of the envelopes and mailings,” said Michelle Riordan-Nold,
Executive Director of the Connecticut Data Collaborative, the lead organization for the State of Connecticut in the U.S. Census Bureau’s State Data Center Program. “Responding online, by phone or my mail should take only about 10 minutes, and will have an impact on families, neighborhoods, communities and our state for the next decade.”
Census Day is April 1, which means that everyone answering the Census should do so reflecting their residence on April 1, 2020. Everyone living in the 50 states, 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) is required by law to fill out the 2020 Census form.
Here are 12 Key Facts About the U.S. Census to be aware of as the census gets
underway this week.
1. There Are Three Ways to Respond: Online, By Phone, By Mail
For the first time since the decennial census began in 1790, there are now three ways to respond: online, by phone, or by mail. It is the first time that the Census questionnaire can be answered online or by phone. The letter being sent out indicates that “The Census Bureau is using the internet to securely collect your information.” The Census Bureau estimates that completing the questionnaire will take
10 minutes on average. The 2020 Census online form is compatible with all Android and Apple smartphone browsers. Knowing the household’s 12-digit census ID, which is included in the invitation letter from the Census, will be helpful for responding online, by phone, and in the mail. To respond by phone, individuals should contact (844) 330-2020. For those who do not respond in any method, a follow-up letter will be sent between March 16 and March 24.
Those who have yet to respond will continue to receive notifications urging them to respond, as is required by law. Individuals should expect to receive: a reminder postcard between March 26 and April 3, a reminder letter and paper questionnaire between April 8 and April 16, and a final reminder postcard between April 20 and April 27. If there has not been an online, phone or mail response to any of the Census inquiries, a census taker from the local community will follow-up in person in May, June or July to provide assistance. The online 2020 Census questionnaire will be available in 13 languages (Arabic, Chinese [Simplified], English, French, Haitian Creole, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese). The Census Bureau has language guides in 59 non-English languages, to assist in filling out the form in English.
2. Complete Count Committees in Connecticut
Connecticut has formed a statewide Complete Count Committee to coordinate state efforts for the 2020 Census, and more than 100 municipalities and other organizations have formed local committees. The state’s website is www.ct.gov/census. In addition, nonprofit agencies in Connecticut and community foundations across the state are supporting and assisting efforts to achieve a complete count. The Connecticut Community Nonprofit Alliance, Connecticut Council for Philanthropy and Connecticut Data Collaborative conducted a series of workshops earlier this year. Public libraries are also available to offer information and assistance.
3. Connecticut’s Future Federal Funding, Redistricting, Business Decisions Rely on Census Data
Every 10 years, the federal government conducts a population count of everyone in the United States.
Data from the census provide the basis for distributing more than $675 billion in federal funds annually to communities across the country to support vital programs – impacting housing, education, transportation, employment, health care, and public policy. The results will inform the allocation of federal funding for more than 100 programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, Head Start, Highway Planning and Construction, Federal Direct Student Loans, block grants for community mental health services, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP.
The data is also used to redraw the boundaries of congressional and state legislative districts and accurately determine the number of congressional seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. Business decisions – such as where to locate or expand – are also often influenced by data that is provided based on Census counts. State officials point out that Connecticut receives $10.7 billion annually in federal funding in areas including roads, schools, public works, and vital assistance programs. Many of these federal funding formulas rely on the Census data to apportion the funds.
4. Connecticut Data Collaborative is the Census State Data Center for Connecticut
The Connecticut Data Collaborative (www.ctdata.org) has been designated as the lead organization for the State of Connecticut in the U.S. Census Bureau’s State Data Center Program and as Connecticut’s official source for Census data related to the 2020 Census.
“In addition to the Census Bureau, we are a resource for residents to understand and get up-to-date
information about Census 2020 happenings in the state,” said Michelle Riordan-Nold, Executive Director of the Connecticut Data Collaborative (CTData), a statewide public-private partnership that advocates for the public availability of open and accessible data, serving nonprofits, advocates, policymakers, community groups, and funders. “On our site (ctdata.org/census) we have a calendar of events related to Census 2020, and we provide resources and answers to frequently asked questions. In addition, we’ll be analyzing and providing data on real-time response rates to Census 2020.”
5. Census Data is Completely Confidential Responses are used only to produce statistics. The Census Bureau does not disclose any personal information. It is against the law for any Census Bureau employee to disclose or publish any census information that identifies an individual. Census Bureau employees take a lifelong pledge of confidentiality to handle data responsibly and keep respondents’ information private. No law enforcement agency (not the DHS, ICE, FBI, or CIA) can access or use personal information at any time.
6. Why the Census Asks What It Asks
The 2020 Census asks specific questions to provide demographic data about the nation. Among the questions, and why they’re being asked:
How many people are living or staying at your home on April 1, 2020. This will help the Census count
the country’s population and ensure that we count people once, only once, and in the right place
according to where they live on Census Day.
Whether the home is owned or rented. This will help produce statistics about homeownership and
renters. The rates of homeownership serve as one indicator of the nation’s economy. They also help in
administering housing programs and informing planning decisions.
About the age of each person in the household. Similar to the recording of other demographic data
such as the race and sex of each person, 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 populations.
7. Connecticut Has Communities That Have Had Low Self-Response Rates to the Census in the Past
Underscoring the importance of diligent efforts to achieve a complete count in 2020, Connecticut has more than two dozen communities that have had low-response rates in the past. This means the initial self-response rate was 73% or less. Nearly one-quarter of the state’s population – 22% – live in neighborhoods that have had low self-response rates in other census and are dispersed across 29 municipalities. These include Hartford, Manchester, East Hartford, Windham, Norwich, New London, Groton, New Haven, East Haven, West Haven, Hamden, Ansonia, Shelton, Milford, Stratford, Fairfield, Westport, Norwalk, Stamford, Greenwich, Danbury, Waterbury, Naugatuck, Meriden, Middletown, New Britain, Bristol, Torrington and Mansfield. For example, 34 of the 38 census tracts in Bridgeport have had low-response rates in the past, as have 36 of the 40 census tracts in Hartford.
8. Beware of Scams: The Census Will Never Ask Certain Questions
During the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau will never ask individuals for a Social Security number, bank or credit card account numbers, money or donations, or anything on behalf of a political party. There is no citizenship question on the 2020 Census. If someone claiming to be from the Census Bureau contacts someone via email or phone and asks for one of these things, it is a scam, and individuals should not cooperate.
9. Count Everyone Under Your Roof
The U.S. Census Bureau points out that if you are filling out the census for your home, you should count
everyone who is living there as of April 1, 2020. This includes any friends or family members who are living and sleeping there most of the time. If someone is staying in your home on April 1, and has no usual home elsewhere, you should count them in your response to the 2020 Census. Please also be sure to count roommates, young children, newborns, and anyone who is renting a space in your home. These people are often missed in the census. This means they can miss out on resources for themselves and their communities over the next 10 years. It is important to remember to count any children who are living with you. This includes:
All children who live in your home, including foster children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and
the children of friends (even if they are living with you temporarily).
Children who split their time between homes, if they are living with you on April 1, 2020.
Newborn babies, even those who are born on April 1, 2020, or are still in the hospital on April 1.
10. Counting People in Group Living Arrangements
Individuals living or staying in a group living arrangement, also known as group quarters, on April 1, 2020, will be counted by the Census Bureau during the month of April.
Group quarters are places where people live or stay in a group living arrangement. These places are owned or managed by an entity or organization that provides residents with housing and/or services, such as college/university student housing (dorms, residence halls, etc.), residential treatment centers, skilled nursing facilities, group homes, military barracks, maritime and military vessels and correctional facilities.
11. People Who Move on Census Day
Individuals who move into their new residence on April 1, 2020, they should count themselves at that
residence. If they move out of their old residence on April 1, 2020, but have not yet moved into their new
home, they should count themselves at their old residence, according to the Census Bureau. Visitors who are in your home on April 1, 2020, but who will return to their normal residence should be counted where they live and sleep most of the time. Residents of foreign countries who are visiting the United States on vacation or business on April 1, 2020, should not be counted.
12. Other Census Bureau Surveys Continue
The Census Bureau will continue to conduct other surveys, like the American Community Survey, during 2020. If individuals are contacted about another survey, it is very important to participate. But everyone is still required to respond to the 2020 Census, even if they have participated in another survey.
Additional information about the 2020 Census is available at www.2020census.gov General
questions can also be addressed on the U.S. Census Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, or by
calling 301-763-INFO (4636) or 800-923-8282. The Census Bureau will release population totals
and other publicly-available data beginning in early 2021.