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The Census is the count of every person living in the United States as required by the U.S. Constitution. It is conducted once every 10 years by the U.S. Census Bureau, a division of the Department of Commerce. By law, all households in the United States are required to participate in the census.

As of March 12, the 2020 US census is available by mail, phone, and online at my2020census.gov. Starting in mid-August, census Enumerators, also known as Census Takers, will also be going door-to-door to conduct in-person surveys, for households that have not yet responded.

Filling out the 2020 Census

You can complete the census online or over the phone in under 10 minutes and in 13 languages. You do not need to wait for your invitation to come in the mail to respond online or over the phone.

In NYC, most households will receive instructions to complete the census online. Some households will receive the traditional paper form to mail in.

If you did not receive or lost your paper form, you can still complete the census over the phone by speaking with a Census Bureau employee. 

Your “Census ID” 

Your invitation and reminder mailings will include a 12-character alpha-numeric “Census ID,” which is unique to your address. When you complete the census online at my2020census.gov or over the phone you should do so using the “Census ID” for your address.

If you lost your letter(s) from the Census Bureau, cannot find your “Census ID,” or did not receive an invitation to fill out the census, you can still respond online. Visit the online form and select “Start Questionnaire.” Below the ID field, click the link that says, “If you do not have a Census ID, click here.”

If you are renting a room, live in home with multiple families, or live in an unlawfully subdivide apartment or basement unit, you can still fill out your own census questionnaire online or over the phone without a “Census ID.”

Online

The online self-response Census questionnaire will be translated into twelve languages: Spanish, Chinese (Simplified), Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Japanese.

Fill out the 2020 Census at my2020census.gov.

By Mail

The Census paper questionnaire is available in English and Spanish.

Census assistance is available over the phone in multiple languages: English, Spanish, Chinese (Simplified), Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Japanese. Assistance is also available via Telephone Display Device (TDD).

English

  • Agency: United States Department of Commerce
  • Division: Census Hotline English
  • Phone Number: (844) 330-2020
  • Representatives are available every day from 7 AM - 2 AM.

Spanish

  • Agency: United States Department of Commerce
  • Division: Census Hotline Spanish
  • Phone Number: (844) 468-2020
  • Representatives are available every day from 7 AM - 2 AM.

Arabic

  • Agency: United States Department of Commerce
  • Division: Census Hotline Arabic
  • Phone Number: (844) 416-2020
  • Representatives are available Monday - Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM.

Chinese (Cantonese)

  • Agency: United States Department of Commerce
  • Division: Census Hotline Chinese (Cantonese)
  • Phone Number: (844) 398-2020
  • Representatives are available Monday - Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM.

Chinese (Mandarin)

  • Agency: United States Department of Commerce
  • Division: Census Hotline Chinese (Mandarin)
  • Phone Number: (844) 391-2020
  • Representatives are available Monday - Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM.

French

  • Agency: United States Department of Commerce
  • Division: Census Hotline French
  • Phone Number: (844) 494-2020
  • Representatives are available Monday - Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM.

Haitian Creole

  • Agency: United States Department of Commerce
  • Division: Census Hotline Haitian Creole
  • Phone Number: (844) 477-2020
  • Representatives are available Monday - Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM.

Japanese

  • Agency: United States Department of Commerce
  • Division: Census Hotline Japanese
  • Phone Number: (844) 460-2020
  • Representatives are available Monday - Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM.

Korean

  • Agency: United States Department of Commerce
  • Division: Census Hotline Korean
  • Phone Number: (844) 392-2020
  • Representatives are available Monday - Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM.

Polish

  • Agency: United States Department of Commerce
  • Division: Census Hotline Polish
  • Phone Number: (844) 479-2020
  • Representatives are available Monday - Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM.

Portuguese

  • Agency: United States Department of Commerce
  • Division: Census Hotline Portuguese
  • Phone Number: (844) 474-2020
  • Representatives are available Monday - Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM.

Russian

  • Agency: United States Department of Commerce
  • Division: Census Hotline Russian
  • Phone Number: (844) 417-2020
  • Representatives are available Monday - Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM.

Tagalog

  • Agency: United States Department of Commerce
  • Division: Census Hotline Tagalog
  • Phone Number: (844) 478-2020
  • Representatives are available Monday - Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM.

Vietnamese

  • Agency: United States Department of Commerce
  • Division: Census Hotline Vietnamese
  • Phone Number: (844) 461-2020
  • Representatives are available Monday - Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM.

Telephone Display Device (TDD)

  • Agency: United States Department of Commerce
  • Division: Census Hotline Telephone Display Device (TDD)
  • Phone Number: (844) 467-2020
  • Representatives are available every day from 7 AM - 2 AM.

Additional Language Support

You can find assistance filling out the 2020 census in another language online with language guides and video tutorials in 59 languages, including Bangla, Hindi, Urdu, and Punjabi.

Learn about Census language support.

Census Day 2020

Census Day was April 1, 2020. Every home received information on how to respond to the 2020 Census by this date. When you respond to the census, you should respond with information about where you live – and the number of people living with you – as of April 1, 2020.***

***Please note that if someone was staying with you temporarily on April 1 due to the COVID-19 situation, they should be counted where they usually live. This includes college students, who should still be counted at school, even if they are home early because of the COVID-19 situation. If they live in student housing, the college will count them. If they live off campus, they should respond for the off-campus address and include any roommates or other people living there.

The census is for everyone, regardless of your living situation, immigration, or citizenship status.

Every household is required by law to complete the census. Any person present in the United States on April 1 of a census year must be counted, even if you’re just visiting from another country.

If you are present in New York City on April 1, 2020, you should be included on the census form for the household where you are staying or residing.***

***Please note that if you were staying with someone temporarily on April 1 due to the COVID-19 situation, you should be counted where you usually live. This includes college students, who should still be counted at school, even if you are home early because of the COVID-19 situation. If you live in student housing, the college will count you. If you live off campus, you should respond for the off-campus address and include any roommates or other people living there.

Multiple Families Living in the Same Household

Everyone living in your household should be included on the 2020 Census, even if they are not listed on your lease or are renting a room from you without a lease.***

This includes people are just staying with you temporarily or short-term. For example, everyone living in a NYCHA apartment should be included on the household’s census questionnaire, even if not everyone living in the apartment is listed on the tenant agreement. This includes all children, family members and partners.

If there are multiple families living in your home (like in a sub-divided apartment or basement unit) each family can respond to the 2020 Census online or over the phone separately using the same address.

Under federal law, all personal information collected through the census is kept fully confidential, cannot be shared with anybody – including other federal agencies, law enforcement, and private individuals and entities, like landlords or employers. Information collected through the census cannot be used against you in any way.

***Please note that if someone was staying with you temporarily on April 1 due to the COVID-19 situation, they should be counted where they usually live. This includes college students, who should still be counted at school, even if they are home early because of the COVID-19 situation. If they live in student housing, the college will count them. If they live off campus, they should respond for the off-campus address and include any roommates or other people living there.

Children in Foster Care

Please make sure that you are including all children in foster care who are living and sleeping in your home no matter how young or old they are, no matter how long they have been in your home, and regardless of whether you are related to the children.

Your “Census ID” 

Your invitation and reminder mailings will include a 12-character alpha-numeric “Census ID,” which is unique to your address. When you complete the census online at my2020census.gov or over the phone you should do so using the “Census ID” for your address.
 
If you lost your letter(s) from the Census Bureau, cannot find your “Census ID,” or did not receive an invitation to fill out the census, you can still respond online. Visit the online form and select “Start Questionnaire.” Below the ID field, click the link that says, “If you do not have a Census ID, click here.”
 
If you are renting a room, live in home with multiple families, or live in an unlawfully subdivide apartment or basement unit, you can still fill out your own census questionnaire online or over the phone without a “Census ID.”

Learn about participating in the Census.

The 2020 Census website is completely 508 compliant, which means it is accessible to people who are blind or have low vision, people who are deaf or have hearing loss, and people who have learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, photosensitivity, and various combinations of these.

If you prefer to respond by mail but do not receive a questionnaire in your first mailing from the U.S. Census Bureau, you can wait for the fourth mailing, in mid-April 2020, which will include a questionnaire. You can also print a braille questionnaire guide or view an American Sign Language video guide online.

Learn about Census language support.

The 2020 Census questionnaire will include fewer than 10 simple questions asking for basic information about:

  • How many people are living or staying at your home, including all children. Even if someone is not permanently staying with you or is staying with you only for a short period of time, they should be counted.
  • Whether the home is owned or rented
  • What the phone number for the home is
  • The sex, age, race, and ethnicity of each person in your home
  • The relationship between the people in your home

The 2020 Census does not include a question about citizenship or immigration status.

The census does not ask about whether your apartment or housing is lawful. Any person living at an address in New York City should respond to the census; it does not matter if your apartment or building is lawful.

The 2020 Census questionnaire also will not ask about your:

  • Income
  • Social Security or taxpayer ID number
  • Money or donations
  • Political party affiliation
  • Bank or credit card accounts

Learn about the 2020 Census questions.

A complete and accurate 2020 Census count will ensure that New York City receives its fair share of federal funding for critical programs and services like public education, public housing, roads and bridges, and more – as well as its full representation in Congress and the Electoral College. Census data also shapes important decisions about our communities, from emergency services to healthcare access.

City agencies that conduct or operate programs and services that have census-guided funding include:

  • The Department of Education (schools)
  • Administration for Children’s Services (programs for very young children)
  • Department for the Aging (senior centers)
  • Department of Youth and Community Development (job training and adult education programs)
  • Department of Housing Preservation and Development (affordable housing vouchers, maintenance for buildings)
  • Department of Transportation (maintenance and construction of roads, bridges, and highways)
  • New York City Public Housing Authority (money for maintenance and repairs)

Visit the NYC Census 2020 website.

You can complete the 2020 Census online, by phone, in person, or by mail. 

The U.S. Census Bureau will accept online and over-the-phone responses in 12 non-English languages, in addition to the traditional paper form. 

In NYC, most households will receive instructions to complete the census online. Some households will receive the traditional paper form to mail in. 

March 12: The online self-response and telephone assistance numbers go live. 

March 12 – late April: Every household in the United States will receive letters from the U.S. Census Bureau about how to fill out the census online, by phone, or by mail. Information about language services will also be included. Households will receive several reminders throughout April if they do not respond.

March 12 – September 30: During this time, every household can respond to the 2020 Census on their own, online at my2020census.gov, over the phone, or by mail. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Census Bureau has extended this self-response period until September 30, 2020.

April: Census Day is April 1, 2020. Every home will have received information on how to respond to the 2020 Census by this date. When you respond to the census, you should respond with information about where you live – and the number of people living with you – as of April 1, 2020.***

***Please note that if someone was staying with you temporarily on April 1 due to the COVID-19 situation, they should be counted where they usually live. This includes college students, who should still be counted at school, even if they are home early because of the COVID-19 situation. If they live in student housing, the college will count them. If they live off campus, they should respond for the off-campus address and include any roommates or other people living there.

August 11 - September 30: The U.S. Census Bureau enumerators (also known as Census Takers or Door Knockers) begin to go door-to-door across New York City to conduct “non-response follow-up” to try to collect information in person. During this time you can still respond on your own online, over the phone, or by mail. The start of this Non-response Follow-up (NRFU) period has been delayed to early August, with the full door knocking operation starting on August 11.

Learn about the updated 2020 Census timeline.

If you receive a traditional paper questionnaire, you can choose instead to respond to the Census online or over the phone. 

NOTE: All US Census Bureau enumerators/Census Takers/door-knockers will have a valid ID badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date.

If you still have questions about their identity, you can call to speak with a local Census Bureau representative.

  • Agency: United States Department of Commerce
  • Division: United States Census Bureau
  • Phone Number: (844) 330-2020
  • Business Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week

If someone visits your home to collect a response for the 2020 Census, you can do the following to verify their identity:

  • Check to make sure that they have a valid ID badge, with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date.
  • If you still have questions about their identity, you can call to speak with a local Census Bureau representative.

The Census Bureau will not send unsolicited emails to request your participation in the 2020 Census. 

The Census Bureau will never ask for:

  • Your Social Security number.
  • Your bank account or credit card numbers.
  • Money or donations.

If you suspect fraud, you can call to speak with a local Census Bureau representative.

Learn about avoiding Census scams or fraud.

  • Agency: United States Department of Commerce
  • Division: United States Census Bureau
  • Phone Number: (844) 330-2020
  • Business Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week

All data collected by the census is protected by federal law under Title 13 of the U.S. Code.

These protections ensure that all personal information collected through the census is kept fully confidential, cannot be shared with anybody – including other federal agencies, law enforcement, and private individuals and entities – and cannot be used against you in any way. The penalties for breaking this law include up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

Information provided through the census is only used to produce statistics and is kept completely anonymous. This means that the Census Bureau is not allowed to release your information in any way that could identify you or a member of your household.

The 2020 Census does not ask about citizenship or immigration status.

The 2020 Census questionnaire will not ask about your:

  • Income
  • Social security or taxpayer ID number
  • Money or donations
  • Political party affiliation
  • Bank or credit card accounts

The census does not ask about whether your apartment or housing situation is lawful. Any person living at an address in New York City should respond to the census; it does not matter if your apartment or building is lawful or whether or not everyone living in your home is on the lease.

Learn about privacy and security around the 2020 Census.

Starting in early August 2020 Census Takers will begin going to door-to-door to collect responses from households who have not yet responded to the 2020 Census.  If you respond online or by phone today, a census taker is less likely to have to visit your home to collect your response.

Census takers will be trained to:

  • Always wear a mask
  • Never enter your home
  • Stay 6 feet away when conducting interviews
  • Follow healthy hygiene habits, like frequent hand-washing

If you do not want to conduct the interview in person, you can provide the census taker with your phone number to complete it over the phone.

If the census taker does not speak your household’s language, you can request a return visit from a census taker who does.

If someone visits your home to collect a response for the 2020 Census, you can do the following to verify their identity:

  • Check to make sure that they have a valid ID badge, with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date.
  • If you still have questions about their identity, you can call to speak with a local Census Bureau representative.

If no one is home when the census taker visits, the census taker will leave a notice of their visit with information about how to respond online, by phone or by mail.

  • Agency: United States Department of Commerce
  • Division: United States Census Bureau
  • Phone Number: (844) 330-2020
  • Business Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week

In addition to the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau administers the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is different and separate 2020 Census.

The ACS is:

  • Ongoing
  • Conducted every year
  • Only offered to select households
  • A longer questionnaire

If your household was selected for the ACS, you should complete it in addition to the 2020 Census. Your responses to both forms are protected under Title 13 of the U.S. Code, which ensures that personal information collected by the Census Bureau is kept fully confidential, cannot be shared with anybody – including other federal agencies, law enforcement, and private individuals and entities – and cannot be used against you. The penalties for breaking this law include up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

Learn about the American Community Survey.

The primary function of the census is to count the number of people present in the U.S. at a given time to determine the distribution of funding for public education, public and affordable housing, healthcare, roads and bridges, and more. It is also used to determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College.