General Questions

What is the Census?

The Census is a count of every person residing in the United States.  The count must include people of all ages, races, and ethnic groups, citizens and non-citizens.  Article I of the Constitution requires a census of everyone in the United States every ten years, and the next one occurs in 2010.  The Census form asks 10 simple questions and can be completed in 10 minutes.  Federal law protects the personal information you share during the census.  The information collected is used to distribute Congressional seats to states, to make decisions about what community services to provide, and to distribute $400 billion in federal funds to state and local governments each year.  Census Day is April 1, 2010.  See the section, About the Census to learn more about the Census.

What is Census Day?

April 1 is the day established by the Census Bureau as Census Day.  Households do not need to wait until April 1st to complete and return their forms.  Households should complete and return their forms as soon as possible.   Households that have not returned their census forms by April 9th will receive a visit from a Census worker to obtain their responses in person.

Why is the Census important?

Census data shapes the future of your community and defines your voice in Congress.

  • Every year, the federal government distributes $400 billion in funds based on census data.
  • Census information helps determine where to build schools, roads, hospitals, child care centers, senior centers and other services that help our families.
  • Businesses use the data to build supermarkets, shopping centers, new housing and other construction projects.
  • Census data determines the allotment of the 435 Congressional House seats. States with larger increases in population gain more political representation.
  • Census data determines key aspects of our civil rights laws.

See the section About the Census to learn more about the Census.