April 2020

U.S. Census 2020: It’s Time to Be Counted!

Invitations to complete the U.S. Census sent through the mail.Invitations to complete the U.S. Census sent through the mail.

Invitations to complete the U.S. Census sent through the mail.
Invitations to complete the United States Census 2020 were mailed out to U.S. households in March 2020.

Starting in 1790, the United States government has taken a census every 10 years. A census is an official count of a population. In March of this year, the government mailed each household an invitation to complete the U.S. Census 2020 by April 1, 2020. The head of each household is required to fill out the form online, by phone or by mail. In the past, workers went from door-to-door to gather and record information about each household.

The census is required by the U.S. Constitution. It gives the government a clearer picture of the nation’s population and determines how many seats in the U.S. House of Representatives each state should have. The government also collects census data to decide how to distribute federal tax dollars to communities’ public services, such as schools and hospitals.

The census form has changed over time. The 1790 census only included six questions. Now the census asks many questions about each person who lives in the household. Some of the information requested on the 2020 census includes:

  • The number of people living or staying in the household
  • Type of household (own or rent/house or apartment)
  • Name of each person who lives there
  • Relationship of each person to the head of the household
  • Each person’s gender and race
  • Each person’s age and date of birth

Ask an adult in your household if they received the 2020 census invitation. Did they complete the census form online, on the phone, or by mail? Discuss with them the questions asked on the census form. Why do you think each question is important? If you’d like to learn more about the U.S. census and discuss past census questions and data, visit the U.S. Census Bureau website.

Image credit: ©Sundry Photography/Shutterstock
Question 1
How often does the U.S. government take a census?

Question 2
Which of the following is a reason why the U.S. government takes a census?

Rate this story:
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars