2020 is the Time to Be Counted!

Online 2020 Census form on a laptopThe 2020 U.S. Census is about to begin. Nationwide, April 1, 2020, is designated as Census Day and every household will receive a Census invitation. The Census is done every 10 years to count every person and housing unit in the United States.

The Census benefits you and your community because it:

Determines the funding level for many public services, grants, and community support so that Iowa and your community get their fair share of federal funding for:

  • Hospitals and health care
  • Fire and police departments
  • Schools, education, and daycare for children
  • Roads, highways, and public transportation
  • Housing assistance
  • Medicaid and child health programs
  • Job training programs

Determines your fair representation in the U.S. Congress and the Iowa Legislature. The Census is mandated in the U.S. Constitution to apportion Congress.

Guides community planning and critical decisions for:

  • Emergency services and preparedness
  • Affordable housing
  • Health centers and needs
  • Community development block grants

Guides business development, investment, and planning.

Contributes to a better future for you, your family, your community, and Iowa.

Woman placing a completed 2020 Census in a mailboxAn Undercount in Iowa = Federal Funding Loss

Because many federal funds are distributed based on Census data, Iowa will lose some portion of federal funds every year between 2020 and 2030 for each person missed. It is estimated that an undercount in Iowa of:

1/10 of one percent = loss $89.6 million from 2020 to 2030

1/4th of one percent = loss $224 million from 2020 to 2030

one percent = loss $896 million from 2020 to 2030

How to Respond

Almost all households will receive their Census invitation in the mail. Include everyone in your household when you respond and be sure to count your children and infants. You will have the option of responding online, by mail, or by phone and in a wide range of languages. Accessibility services make it easy for persons with vision, hearing, or other disabilities to respond. It is your civic duty to take part and completing the census is mandatory.

Your Census Response is Safe

The Census Bureau uses your information only for statistical purposes. Your personal information is kept confidential. Your responses are compiled with other homes to produce statistics which never identify your home or any person in your home. The Census Bureau is required by law to protect your information and the data collection process is designed with layers of security to keep your information safe and secure. By law, your responses cannot be used against you. The Census Bureau will NEVER ask for social security numbers, bank or credit card numbers, money or donations, or anything on behalf of a political party.

Questions Asked in the Census

  • How many people are living or staying at your home on April 1, 2020.
  • Whether the home is owned or rented.
  • About the sex, age, and race of each person in your home.
  • About whether a person in your home is of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.
  • About the relationship of each person in your home.
  • A phone number for a person in the home.

The Census will NOT ask about citizenship or immigration status.

How to Help Your Community Be Counted

  • Provide Census 2020 fact sheets in your office and at meetings.
  • Include Census 2020 information and its importance in your newsletters, conferences, websites, and communications with clients.
  • Use social media to promote understanding of the Census.
  • Promote Census job opportunities.
  • Promote Census Day, April 1, 2020.
  • Spread the word to your family, friends, and colleagues.
  • Respond to your own Census Invitation.

Resources and Fact sheets

Census information on the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Indicators Portal: https://indicators.extension.iastate.edu/Indicators/Census/

U.S. Census Bureau: https://2020census.gov/en.html


For more information contact Sandra Burke at 515-294-9307 or scburke@iastate.edu.