2020 Census Guide
Your guide to the 2020 Census and making Hawaii count
What is the 2020 Census?
The Decennial Census is the once-a-decade population and housing count of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Island Areas, as required by the U.S. Constitution.
The goal of the census is to count every person living in the United States, once, only once and in the right place. Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution mandates that this population and housing count occur every 10 years. Census data guide how more than $675 billion of federal funding is distributed to states and communities each year.
[Back to top]
How to respond:
- Online: Most people will be invited to respond online. The secure website for responding is https://my2020census.gov/. The questionnaire is available in 13 different languages.
- Over the phone: A live customer service representative can answer your questions and assist you with the census questionnaire. Assistance is available in 14 languages and for Telephone Display Devices (TDD). Call 844-330-2020 for English and see a full list of language lines here.
- By paper questionnaire: Some homes will receive a paper questionnaire starting on March 12. If you do not respond online or over the phone by April 8, you will be mailed a paper questionnaire.
The safety and security of your responses
The Census Bureau is required by law to protect your information. The Census Bureau is not permitted to publicly release your responses in a way that could identify you or your household. Your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency, housing authority, law enforcement, or court.
Title 13 of the U.S. Code protects the confidentiality of all your information. Violating the confidentiality of a respondent is a federal crime with serious penalties, including a federal prison sentence of up to five years, a fine of up to $250,000, or both. All Census Bureau employees are sworn for life to protect the confidentiality of your responses.
The Census Bureau is working with Department of Homeland Security, other intelligence agencies, and industry professionals to protect online responses. Online responses are protected from cybersecurity risks through screening of the systems that transmit your data.
[Back to top]
How to tell if a document is from the Census Bureau:
If you receive a questionnaire or a letter in the mail from the Census Bureau, the envelope contains information that will help you verify its legitimacy.
- “U.S. Census Bureau” in the return address, with the 2020 Census and Department of Commerce logos.
- Jeffersonville, IN or Phoenix, AZ in the return envelope address. The Census Bureau has a mail processing centers located there.
The census questionnaire will NOT ask you for:
- Social Security numbers
- Credit card numbers
- Bank account information
- Mother’s maiden name
- Money or donations
When to expect mail or home delivery from the Census Bureau:
|On or between:||You’ll receive in the mail:||What it will look like:|
|March 12-20||An invitation to respond online, over the phone, or with a paper questionnaire||Sample invitation (online)|
Sample invitation (paper)
|March 16-24||A reminder letter||Sample letter|
|If you’ve not yet responded…|
|March 26- April 3||A reminder postcard||Sample postcard|
|April 8-16||A reminder letter and a paper questionnaire||Sample letter|
|April 20-27||A final reminder postcard before a census taker follows up in person||Sample postcard|
The 2020 Census and COVID-19
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Census Bureau has adjusted their 2020 Census operations.
A major adjustment for Hawaii is that people who receive their mail through P.O. Box are not currently receiving invitations to respond. This is because invitations are hand-delivered to their physical addresses in a process called Update Leave. This operation is on hold until at least April 15th. You can still respond to the census even if you haven’t received your invitation or if you’ve lost your invitation. Go to https://my2020census.gov and once you’ve started the questionnaire, follow the link that says “If you do not have a Census ID, click here.” You can also fill out your questionnaire over the phone, even if you don’t have your invitation, by calling 1-844-330-2020 toll-free.
Below are the other adjustments being made to the 2020 Census schedule.
|Self-Response Phase (online, phone, mail)||Extended||March 12–August 14|
|Update Leave||Delayed||No earlier than April 15th|
|Update Enumerate||Suspended and extended||No earlier than April 15th|
|Mobile Questionnaire Assistance||Delayed||No earlier than April 15th|
|Early Nonresponse Followup (NRFU)||Delayed||May 7–August 14|
|Nonresponse Followup (NRFU) and NRFU Reinterview||Delayed||May 28–August 14|
|Group Quarters Enumeration||Delayed||April 16–June 19|
|Service-Based Enumeration||Delayed||April 29–May 1|
|Census counts people experiencing homelessness outdoors||Delayed||May 1|
|Enumeration of Transitory Locations||Delayed||April 23–May 18|
|Deliver apportionment counts to the President||On schedule||By December 31|
|Deliver redistricting counts to states||On schedule||By April 1, 2021|
How to identify an official website of the U.S. government:
The .gov means it’s official. Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.
The https:// means it’s secure. The https:// ensures that you are connecting to an official website. Any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely, so your answers are secure.
How to identify a census worker:
A census taker will only visit you at home if you do not respond to the census questionnaire by the week of April 20. Work will be conducted between 9 AM and 9 PM.
Census takers will have:
- A Census Photo ID Badge with a Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date
- An official bag and Census Bureau-issued electronic device, such as a laptop or smartphone, with the Census Bureau logo
2020 Census advice
There are only 9 questions on the census. The questions ask:
- Who lives in the household
- Relationships in the household
- Age and sex
- Ethnicity, race, and ancestry
- Whether the home is owned or rented
- Contact information to follow up if necessary
Who is included in your household? Anyone who lives together should be counted– this includes both relatives and non-relatives.
The census questionnaire is available in 13 languages online and 14 languages over the phone. There are web pages and guides in 59 non-English languages, including American Sign Language, as well as guides in braille and large print.
For language support:
Telephone numbers for answering the 2020 Census over the phone
|Language line||Toll-free number|
|Language lines||Toll-free number|
|For hearing impaired:|
|Telephone Display Device (TDD)||844-467-2020|
|Hawaii Local Census Bureau Office||(808) 650-6611|
|Census Bureau LA Regional Office (serving Hawaii)||1-800-992-3530||[email protected]|
|LA Regional Office Recruiting||1-800-992-3529||[email protected]|