Although it is still just under a year away, preparations are already underway for the 2020 Census in April of next year.
Every 10 years the federal government conducts a census, as required by the United States Constitution, to count every person living in the U.S. and where they reside. The data gathered from the census has huge repercussions that affect everything from government representation to how willing businesses are to invest in a specific area.
Results from the census are used to reapportion the U.S. House of Representatives to determine how many seats each state gets. At the state level, officials use the results to redraw the boundaries of the congressional and state legislative districts, adopting to population shifts. While local governments use the census for public safety and emergency preparedness.
In the private sector, census data can be a crucial factor when companies are deciding where to open their next store, factory or office. Real estate developers use the census when deciding where to build new homes and when to revitalize old neighborhoods.
And for the first time in the census’ 230-year history, citizens will be able to participate online.
In the past the census was solely conducted by mailing questionnaires to every home and utilizing canvassers to check on those who don’t respond.
With a majority of people answering the census online, the Census Bureau may be able to cut back on the 67 million pieces of paper they reported using in the 2010 Census.
In testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2015, the director of the U.S. Census Bureau, John H. Thompson, estimated the bureau will save an estimated $5.2 billion with its technological focus for the 2020 Census. The Census Bureau is also considering using data that the government already has, such as data from tax returns and government assistance programs to reduce the need for door-to-door visits.
The Census Bureau plans to start advertising for the 2020 Census in January 2020, two months before the first census invitations are scheduled to go out.
Starting in March 2020, you’ll receive in the mail an invitation to respond online to the 2020 Census, followed by a reminder letter two weeks after that.
If you still haven’t responded you’ll receive a reminder postcard a week later. Then you’ll receive a paper questionnaire in the mail to fill out.
Finally, the Census Bureau will send another reminder postcard in the middle of April before following up in person.
Despite the online focus in the 2020 Census, there will still be a need for canvassers and census takers on the ground. The Census Bureau will be hiring census takers, recruiting assistants, office staff and supervisory staff.
To be eligible, you must be at least 18 years old, have a valid Social Security number and be a U.S. citizen. To fill out an online job application, visit https://2020census.gov/en/jobs.