Members of the University of Nebraska community are being urged to complete the 2020 Census, if they have not already done so, to ensure Nebraska receives appropriate federal funds for schools, healthcare, housing, roads and more.
Due to a recent court ruling, responses to the 2020 Census will be accepted through 11:59 P.M. on Thursday, Oct. 15, including postmarked paper forms.
Nebraskans may complete the 2020 Census by visiting http://my2020census.gov or calling 844.330.2020. The form takes about 10 minutes to complete.
The Census is a once-a-decade federal effort to count every person in the United States. Counts are used to direct billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities for public services. Census counts also determine political representation at every level of government, including the number of seats that each state gets in Congress.
If you already responded to the Census mailings delivered in March and April, or another member of your household has completed the Census, you are already taken care of and do not need to repeat the process.
Additional resources, information, and answers to your questions about the Census can be found below.
“Nebraskans have done a great job so far of responding during a difficult year that has disrupted all of our normal routines,” said Josie Schafer, director of the Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Schafer co-chairs a system-wide team of faculty and staff that has been working throughout the year to promote Census completion.
“There’s still lots of room to improve. With only a month to go, our goal is to make sure every Nebraska resident is counted once and in the right place. We urge every Nebraskan to do their part in this high-stakes effort for our state.”
Based on figures from the 2010 Census, more than $2,000 per person comes back to Nebraska each year in federal funds. That means that for every person who is not counted in the 2020 Census, Nebraska could lose $20,000 in federal funding over the next 10 years.
The Census also guides political apportionment. While Nebraska is not at risk of losing a seat in Congress, Census counts will be used in a redistricting process that will impact political representation at every level of government.
Students living in NU’s residence halls and Greek houses have already been counted as part of the Census’ “group quarters” effort, and no action is necessary on their part.
Students who live in off-campus houses or apartments, however, should make sure they are counted where they live most of the year.
If you are a member of the UNO community with general questions about the 2020 Census, please reach out to the UNO Center for Public Affairs Research (CPAR) at email@example.com or 402.554.2134.
The UNO Center for Public Affairs Research (CPAR) is here to help with these resources:
1) Students who normally live on campus should still be counted as living on campus, even if they are temporarily living somewhere else as a result of COVID-19. Don't worry! We have you covered (see below).
2) If you are living somewhere different during the COVID-19 pandemic, ask the people in your household if they have completed the 2020 Census (online, by phone, or by mail). Remind them that you should only be counted once and in the right place, which is where you live most of the year, which is most likely at your address on or nearby campus.
3) If you are currently living at your typical address for the school year, check your mail for an invitation to participate from the United States Census Bureau. The mailing provides a web address and unique 12-digit Census ID. If you do not have that mailing you can still respond online (the quickest and easiest way to respond) by going to my2020census.gov. Choose start the questionnaire and then choose the hyperlink “if you do not have Census ID.”
4) You can also call the United States Census Bureau to be sure you are counted in the right place. The phone number for Census support in English is 844.330.2020 or Spanish 844.468.2020. If you need support in another language visit https://2020census.gov/en/contact-us.html
5) Live in on-campus housing? Don’t worry, you have already been counted in the right place. UNO has worked directly with the United States Census bureau to make sure you were counted. Make sure you let someone in your household know that you were counted!
1) You should fill out your 2020 Census as soon as you can! The longer you wait the more expensive it is to contact you to respond.
2) The Census is mandatory and required by federal law. More importantly though it returns billions of dollars back to your community for important education programs, grants and scholarships.
3) The Census will ask you 12 questions:
- How many people are/were living in the household on April 1, 2020?
- Were/are there any additional people staying in the household on April 1, 2020?
- Is this household owned, rented or occupied through other means?
- What is your telephone number?
- What is your name?
- What is your sex? (restricted to Male/Female)
- Your age and date of birth?
- Are you of hispanic, latino, or spanish origin?
- What is your race?
- What is the name of additional person(s) living in the household?
- Does this person usually live or stay somewhere else?
- How is this person related to you?
4) There is NO citizenship question. Despite attempts to add this question ahead of the 2020 Census, the effort was struck down by the United States Supreme Court in 2019.
5) The Census can be completed online, over the phone, submitting a paper form, or by answering questions in-person from a Census taker. Responding online as soon as you can is the best way to ensure you are counted!
What does the Census do?
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.
How often does the Census happen?
The Census happens every 10 years. Information about this decade's Census was mailed out on March 15, 2020, with information starting to be collected beginning April 1, 2020.
What happens to the information collected by the Census?
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.
Is the Census mandatory?
Yes. Complete participation in the U.S. Census (i.e. answering all questions) is required by law and refusal to respond could result in a fine.
Do I need to provide my Social Security Number?
No. The Census does not require you to list your Social Security Number, bank account information, political party affiliation, religion, etc. If you are asked to fill out a document asking these questions, report the incident to UNO Public Safety at 402.554.2648 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is my information safe?
Yes. 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.
How do I participate?
You can respond to the census online (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 with inviting the residents to complete the census and information on how to access each option.
Will I be visted by a Census taker?
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 a photograph of the field representative, Department of Commerce watermark, and an 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.
Is there a citizenship question?
No. Despite an attempt to have a question about citizenship added to the 2020 Census, that effort was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2019 and will not be included on the Census. The 2020 Census will only ask questions about individuals’ names, housing arrangements, sex, age, race, ethnicity, and relationship to the householder.
I'm attending UNO from elsewhere in the state/country/world. What do I report?
You should report information about where you are primarily living as of April 1, 2020. 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 aren't 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.
What if I am away from my residence on April 1, 2020?
People are counted at the residence where they live and sleep most of the time, even if travelling away from their usual residence on Census Day.
What if myself, a roommate, friend, or family member is not a native-English speaker?
There are many opportunities to fill out Census information even if English is not a person's primary language. Those who are responding online or by phone can choose one of 12 additional languages to respond that are not English: Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Japanese.
What if myself, a roommate, friend, or family member is deaf or blind?
The online version of the Census has a video in American Sign Language to help explain how to respond. Braille and large print guides are also available to help complete the paper version of the Census. Additionally there are a number of Census takers who are trained in American Sign Language; when you are visited by a Census taker you can request another Census taker who communicates in American Sign Language or have another member of your household work with the Census taker to complete the appropriate form.
What can I do to be involved beyond filling out my own information?
The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting thousands of people across the country to assist with the 2020 Census count. Anyone age 18 and older, such as recent high school graduates, college students, veterans, retirees, military spouses, seasonal workers and people who are bilingual are highly encouraged to apply. Visit the UNO CPAR website for more details.
Nebraska State Data Center
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 402.554.2132
U.S. Census Bureau - Denver Region
- Website: census.gov/about/regions/denver.html
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 702.501.7478
The Center for Public Affairs Research is a research and community outreach unit of the UNO College of Public Affairs and Community Service.
Survey research support is a key component of CPAR's mission.
CPAR is also the lead agency for the Nebraska State Data Center Program. This program is a cooperative program between the U.S. Census Bureau and individual states. This relationship has resulted in CPAR taking an active role in analyzing and disseminating information from the decennial census and American Community Survey.
Throughout the 2020 Census and beyond, UNO CPAR will be providing the UNO campus, City of Omaha and State of Nebraska important information, analysis and details about how the information collected may shape the future of our city, state and region.
Learn more about the many efforts led by UNO CPAR at their website: cpar.unomaha.edu.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.