2020 Census Guide

Your guide to the 2020 Census and making Hawaii count

Click Here to Complete the 2020 Census Questionnaire

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.

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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.

Read our post on how to respond for more details.

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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.

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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

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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 12-20An invitation to respond online, over the phone, or with a paper questionnaireSample invitation (online)
Sample invitation (paper)
March 16-24A reminder letterSample letter
If you’ve not yet responded…
March 26- April 3A reminder postcardSample postcard
April 8-16A reminder letter and a paper questionnaireSample letter
April 20-27A final reminder postcard before a census taker follows up in personSample postcard

See all sample letters here.

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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, which is being delayed until June 13. The Census Bureau is currently asking households who have not yet received their invitations to wait until their invitations arrive in June before filling out their census forms online or over the phone, especially for households that have Rural Route addresses.

Below are the other adjustments being made to the 2020 Census schedule.

Activity/OperationOriginal ScheduleRevised Schedule
Self-Response Phase (online, phone, mail)March 12-July 31March 12–October 15
Field Offices at Peak OperationsMarch 1June 1
Update Leave March 12-April 17June 1
Mobile Questionnaire Assistance March 30-July 31Through October 5 with limited capacity
Nonresponse Followup (NRFU) and NRFU ReinterviewMay 13-July 31August 11-October 15
Group Quarters Enumeration (e-Response and Paper Enumeration)April 2-June 5April 2-September 3
In-Person Group Quarters EnumerationApril 2-June 5July 1-September 3
Service-Based EnumerationMarch 30-April 1September 22- September 24
Census counts people experiencing homelessness outdoorsApril 1September 23- September 24
Enumeration of Transitory LocationsApril 9-May 4September 3-September 28
Deliver apportionment counts to the PresidentBy December 31, 2020By December 31, 2020
Deliver redistricting counts to statesBy April 1, 2021By April 1, 2021

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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.

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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

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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.

QUIZ: Who counts on your 2020 Census form?

2020 Census flyer for Hawaii households

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Language support

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
Tagalog 844-478-2020
Japanese 844-460-2020
Chinese (Mandarin) 844-391-2020
Chinese (Cantonese) 844-398-2020
Vietnamese 844-461-2020
Korean 844-392-2020
Spanish 844-468-2020
Language lines Toll-free number
Portuguese 844-474-2020
French 844-494-2020
Polish 844-479-2020
Arabic 844-416-2020
Russian 844-417-2020
Haitian Creole 844-477-2020
For hearing impaired:
Telephone Display Device (TDD)844-467-2020

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Contact Information

Hawaii Local Census Bureau Office(808) 650-6611
Census Bureau LA Regional Office (serving Hawaii)1-800-992-3530[email protected]
LA Regional Office Recruiting1-800-992-3529[email protected]

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