Big changes are coming to this year’s census, and it isn’t a citizenship question. Instead, it’s the addition of a new way of submitting data for the 2020 census.
For the first time, people can respond to the census online. Census letters come in the mail beginning in March. There will also be a toll-free number so residents can share their information verbally. The traditional method of filling out the paper questionnaire will also be an option.
Each decade, the federal government counts the number of people in each state. The information gathered helps determine how many seats the state gets in the U.S. Congress. It also figures in the distribution of more than $675 billion in funding to states, counties, municipalities, school districts, and social service programs and organizations.
Being counted in the Census is important. It helps to improve communities, roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, fire and police departments, parks, playgrounds and more.
While some might be reluctant to provide personal information to the government, the Census Bureau says it does not share private information with anyone.
That includes law enforcement, immigration or landlords. There are no exceptions to this law, which is enforceable with five years in jail and a fine of $250,000.