2020 Census in Nebraska
2020 Census FAQ
Below are a variety of questions frequently asked of the upcoming 2020 Census and the U.S. Census Bureau in general.
- It's important. The 2020 Census counts are used for reapportionment, redistricting, distribution of federal funds. An accurate count is essential for our state.
- It's easy. You can complete the census online, using your smartphone, over the phone, or by filling out a paper form. It will ask for your name, address, sex, age, race, ethnicity, relationship and housing tenure.
- It's safe. The privacy of your responses is guaranteed by law. Census workers are sworn to secrecy and subject to a $250,000 fine and jail time. The Census Bureau cannot share your answers with the FBI, the CIA, welfare, immigration, or even the President.
- It's required. Responding to the Census is required by Title 13 of the United States Code, the same law that guarantees the privacy of your responses.
People who live at two or more residences are counted at the residence where they live and sleep most of the time. If usual residence cannot be determined, they are counted at the residence where they are staying on Thursday, April 1, 2020 (Census Day). College students living away from their parental home while attending college in the United States are counted at the on-campus or off-campus residence where they live and sleep most of the time. Those staying in shelter or living outdoors are counted where they are staying on April 1, 2020.
For a more complete answer read 2020 Census Residence Criteria and Residence Situations.
People are counted at the residence where they live and sleep most of the time, even if travelling away from their usual resident on Census Day.
You should report information about where you are primarily living as of April 1, 2022. This means:
- If you are living on campus, you can work with Student Housing to make sure you are counted.
- If you are living off-campus, count where you live even if you do not own the property. Make sure you also count any roommates.
- If you are a service member and are not living in military barracks, and you are not deployed or stationed outside of the United States, count where you live and sleep most of the time — whether that is on or off base.
In 2020 you can respond to the census on-line (using a computer or a smart phone), over the telephone, or by submitting a paper form. Early in 2020 all census addresses will receive a card inviting the residents to complete the census. The 2020 Census provide people with a URL so they can complete the census online, a toll-free telephone number if they want to call in their responses, and an address to request a paper form.
View this handout about how The 2020 Census is Accessible for Everyone.
In most cases, no. The Census Bureau will send out multiple notices encouraging people to respond. Some of these mailings will include the census form. Census workers will only visit those addresses that did not respond to a previous mailing.
However, if you are visited by someone from the Census Bureau, here are some recognition tips to assure the validity of the field representative:
- Must present an ID Badge which contains: photograph of field representative, Department of Commerce watermark, and expiration date.
- Will provide you with supervisor contact information and/or the regional office phone number for verification, if asked.
- Will provide you with a letter from the Director of the Census Bureau on U.S. Census Bureau letterhead.
- May be carrying a laptop and/or bag with a Census Bureau logo.
Yes. The U.S. Census Bureau will make the census questionnaire and other materials available in multiple languages based on its understanding of populations in the United States with limited English-speaking households.
- The Census questionnaire will be available in Spanish as a print version, as well as on the enumerators’ tablets as options when doing field enumeration.
- The Internet Self-Response Instrument will be available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Japanese.
- The Census Bureau will provide Census Questionnaire Assistance by phone in English, Spanish, Chinese (Simplified), Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Japanese, as well as in American Sign Language.
- The U.S. Census Bureau will produce a glossary of census terms, a card for enumerators to identify the language of the household, and video and print guides will be available in 59 non-English languages.
- For populations that speak languages beyond the 59 supported languages, the U.S. Census Bureau plans to create video shells and print templates for adaptation.
The U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 2) mandates a headcount every 10 years, of everyone residing in the United States: in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the Island Areas. This includes people of all ages, races, ethnic groups, citizens, and noncitizens. The first census was conducted in 1790 and has been carried out every 10 years since then. The population totals from the 2020 census will determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives. States also use the totals to redraw their legislative districts. The U.S. Census Bureau must submit state population totals to the President of the United States by December 31, 2020. The totals also affect funding in your community, and data collected in the census help inform decision makers how your community is changing.
The Census Bureau asks the questions they do on the surveys because of federal needs and for community benefits. The information the Census Bureau collects helps determine how more than $675 billion dollars of federal funding annually is spent on infrastructure and services. Your answers help federal, state and local leaders make decisions about: schools, hospitals, emergency services, roads, bridges, job training centers, and many other projects that affect your community.
Launched in 2005, the American Community Survey (ACS) is part of the decennial census program and is essentially what used to be the Census long form. It collects more detailed information on housing, population, and the economy. ACS data are collected continuously throughout the year and throughout the decade from a sample of the population (about 3 million addresses annually). Like the 2020 Census participation in the ACS is mandatory by law and the American public’s participation is vital to provide data that impacts policy decisions on the local, state, and federal level.
The Census Bureau collects data for statistical purposes only. They combine your responses with information from other households or businesses to produce statistics, which never identify your household, any person in your household, or business. Your information is CONFIDENTIAL. They never identify you individually. Title 13 of the U.S. Code protects the confidentiality of all your information and violating this law is a crime with severe penalties. In addition, other federal laws, including the Confidential Statistical Efficiency Act and the Privacy Act reinforce these protections. The penalty for unlawful disclosure is a fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment of up to 5 years, or both.
The Census Bureau will never ask for:
- Full social security number.
- Money or donations.
- Anything on behalf of a political party.
- Your full bank or credit card account numbers.
The nation should see the very first results from the 2020 Census in the form of total population counts for the nation and each state in late 2020 or early 2021. In 2021 each state receives local-level 2020 Census data on race and the voting age population. As required by law, the Census Bureau will provide these key demographic data to the states so the state governments can redraw the boundaries of their U.S. Congressional and state legislative districts. Public Law 94-171 requires that the redistricting data must be delivered to state officials responsible for legislative redistricting within one year of Census day or no later than April 1, 2021.
If you have additional questions, please call the Regional Census Center at 1-800-852-6159 (toll-free) or visit https://www.census.gov/about/regions/denver.html.