Census 2020: Make Yourself Count

What Is the 2020 U.S. Census?

Every ten years the federal government is required to count everyone living in the U.S. through a nationwide census. The 2020 Census, opens a new window marks the first time that community members will be able to respond online and is available in several languages. To ensure a fair count and to fight misinformation and disinformation, our community libraries are dedicated to providing you with important resources and information.

How Has COVID-19 Affected the U.S. Census?

You still have time to fill out the census! In response to COVID-19, the U.S. Census Bureau extended the deadline to respond to the Census in order to:

  • Protect the health and safety of the American public and Census Bureau employees.
  • Implement the guidance from Federal, State, and local authorities regarding COVID-19.
  • Ensure a complete and accurate count of all communities.

The Census Bureau temporarily suspended 2020 Census field data collection activities in March, but resumed operations on June 1, 2020.

In-person activities, including all interaction with the public, enumeration, office work, and processing activities, will incorporate the most current local guidance to promote the health and safety of staff and the public

Why Is the Census Important?

The data collected from the census is critical in helping the government decide how to allocate funds that go toward public services, opens a new window and programs that support health, housing, education, transportation services and more in your community. Collecting census data is the best way to ensure that the diverse voices across the county are heard, growing needs are met, and the right programs and services are available.

For more videos on the 2020 Census, visit the U.S. Census Bureau's YouTube channel, opens a new window.

Who Is Counted?

EVERYONE living in the United States and five U.S. territories is counted no matter their age, opens a new window, residence location, opens a new window, or citizenship status, opens a new window.

So How Do You Make Yourself Count?

In mid-March 2020, most residential addresses received in the mail an invitation to respond online. Starting in early April, paper forms of the census survey were sent out. The survey will only ask basic questions, opens a new window about each person living in the household (name, age, sex, race/ethnicity). It will NOT ask about citizenship or immigration status. 

One person from every household can respond by mail, phone call, or online. Households that don’t respond on their own will be visited by Census Bureau workers starting August 11, 2020 for in-person interviews.   

Is My Data Safe?

Yes. Household and individual information provided on the Census 2020 questionnaire is strongly protected by law, opens a new window. The Census Bureau only reports data as statistics and does not share personal information with any other government agencies (FBI, ICE, Welfare, local code enforcement).

Avoid Frauds and Scams

For your safety and to avoid fraud, only give your basic information to census takers that can verify their identity with a photo ID. They will never ask you for your social security number, bank account or credit card numbers, or money or donations. For more information about maintaining your safety, including important phone numbers to call, visit the 2020 Census site, opens a new window.

Help Is Available

Do you need help filling out your U.S Census? We are eager to support your needs to ensure a fair Census count. You're welcome to call us at 1-833-YES-SMCL (1-833-937-7625) or text us at (650) 851-0147.

Our Customer Care hours are from 10 AM - 8 PM, Monday through Tuesday, and 10 AM - 5 PM, Wednesday through Saturday, except during holiday closures.

Please continue to check this page for updates and Library announcements.

How Can You Get Involved?

The U.S. Census Bureau is currently hiring up to 800 residents in San Mateo County, opens a new window! You can also lead or join outreach efforts to help educate your community and spread the word. Visit the Census site for more information., opens a new window

For additional information, visit Census 2020 in San Mateo County, opens a new window.

Take The Census Challenge

San Mateo County is launching the Census Challenge! Here are the four simple steps to participate:

  1. Take a photo after completing the census and post to social media
  2. Use the hashtags #SMCcounts and #EveryoneCounts
  3. Tag the account @smc_commaffairs, opens a new window
  4. Tag five friends to take the challenge!

When more people in our community respond, that means more opportunities for you, your family, and your neighbors for the next 10 years - and that's why we need your help in spreading the word!

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