2020 Census FAQ
Every 10 years, the US Census Bureau counts everyone living in the country, regardless of their nationality, citizenship status and living situation. The Census is an opportunity to make sure our communities count, and create a better future for the next generation.
While COVID-19 continues to disrupt our daily lives, NYU is continuing to do its part to encourage Census participation in our community. The outbreak has complicated these efforts, as New Yorkers travel out of the city and are counted elsewhere. But in order to ensure that New York receives its proper federal funding for hospitals, schools, trains, roads, and bridges, it is crucial that New Yorkers do their part to make sure New York achieves an accurate count. You can complete the 2020 Census Questionnaire today either online, over the phone (844-330-2020) or by mail by August 14.
Below are answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the Census with additional instructions tailored to the NYU community, including our students who have left campus due to COVID-19. If you have any questions about the Census, please contact the NYU Office of Government Affairs at email@example.com or 212-998-2400.
What is the Census
Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau does a count of all current residents in the United States—regardless of their nationality, citizenship status, or living situation. The Census is an opportunity to create a better future for our communities and the next generation as it will help determine how over $675 billion in federal funding will be distributed each year, including money allocated for New York’s hospitals, schools, trains, roads, and housing.
New York City is historically undercounted in the census. There are many hard-to-count groups (populations for whom a barrier exists to full and representative inclusion in the data collection process) such as college students, the elderly, people of color, immigrants, low-income communities and LGBTQ+, and failure to accurately represent these communities results in a reduced impact of necessary government funding and political participation. Congressional seats are also assigned based on census counts, and New York stands to lose one to two seats if undercounted this year.
The impact of COVID-19 makes it even more challenging for New York to achieve an accurate count. With many residents temporarily leaving the city to shelter elsewhere, New York faces the prospect of a severe undercount, but that representation is now more important than ever.
Today, you can ensure that you, your family, and your community are counted by completing the 2020 Census online, over the phone (844-330-2020), or by mail. Even if you are not in New York City at the time of completing the Census, please be sure to fill it out with your New York address, if that is where you live and sleep most of the time.
Why does it matter?
- Federal Funding - Billions of dollars are at stake. How much a state receives for the next 10 years from the federal government to support schools, hospitals, roads, human services, and more is determined by the number of people counted.
- Fair Representation - The Census determines how many congressional members a state is allotted in the U.S. House of Representatives over the next 10 years.
- Better Future - Businesses use data from the Census to decide where to build facilities that offer employment opportunities; local governments use data for public safety and emergency preparedness; and developers use data to decide where to build new homes and revitalize neighborhoods.
What do I need to do?
The 2020 Census can be filled out right now online, over the phone (844-330-2020), or by mail. Although the Census sends you a Census ID in the mail, you do not need it to complete the Census. On the 2020 Census response website, select the link under the login button that says, “If you do not have a Census ID, click here.”
It’s 10 questions
- It takes less than 10 minutes to complete
- The impact lasts over 10 years
How to determine your address (students):
If you were most recently living in an NYU dormitory (on-campus housing) you will be counted through the U.S. Census Bureau’s Group Quarters Enumeration process, and are not required to respond.
Otherwise, it is important that you complete the Census for the address in which you most-recently lived and slept most of the time.
- That means that if you are an off-campus student living in the area during the NYU Academic Year, you must complete the census using the address you live in while you are in school.
- If you are an international student living in the New York area while studying at NYU, you can complete the Census using your U.S. address where you live and sleep most of the time.
- For students who have left campus because of COVID-19, even if your family has included you in their Census response, you are still encouraged to self-respond individually with your campus-based address. The U.S. Census Bureau is looking for a snapshot of how many students are living on or off-campus while attending classes.
How to determine your address (faculty and staff):
Faculty and staff should also complete the census for the address in which you live and sleep most of the time. For example, if you were living in New Jersey, New York, or Connecticut while commuting to NYU for work before COVID-19, you should use that home address, even if you have temporarily relocated elsewhere because of the virus.
Is my information protected?
Your responses are safe, secure, and protected by federal law. Your answers can only be used to produce statistics and your responses will not be identified.
It is against the law for any Census Bureau employee to disclose or publish any census information that identifies an individual. The Census only captures household information and will not ask you about your citizenship status. Additionally, this information is kept completely private and is not accessible to landlords, law enforcement, US agencies, etc. Strict federal law protects your census responses.
Census Bureau employees take a lifelong pledge of confidentiality to handle data responsibly and keep respondents’ information private. Data collected can only be used for statistical purposes that help inform important decisions, including how much federal funding your community receives.
The Census Bureau also has a robust cybersecurity program that incorporates industry best practices and federal security standards for encrypting data.
Do I need to respond?
If you are living in the U.S., you should fill out the Census. Respond with where you live and sleep most of the time, even if you are not there at the moment. This is particularly important for those temporarily living elsewhere during the COVID-19 outbreak.
When do I need to complete the Census?
The Census opened it’s self-reporting period on March 12, 2020 and will close August 15, 2020. During this time, you can complete it online, on the phone, or by mail. In May, Census enumerators will go door-to-door to count individuals who did not respond by mail from May to July of 2020.
What will I be asked?
You will be asked simple questions like age, sex, and the number of people who live in your home, including children.
The Census does not ask you to share your Social Security Number (SSN), bank or credit card account numbers, money or donations, or any information regarding your political party affiliation.
Who administers the Census?
The US Census Bureau is a government agency that counts every resident of the United States every 10 years.
The Complete Count Committee (CCC) is a partnership among government and community members who work to spread awareness about the census to hard to reach communities.