Are you ready to be counted in the 2020 Census?
Every 10 years, the federal government conducts a census to count every person who lives in the United States. Responding to the census is an important civic duty. Census data is used to determine political representation through the allocation of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and for legislative redistricting. Census data is also used to determine the allocation of over $675 billion dollars in federal funding annually, and guides funding and investment decisions made by governments, nonprofit organizations and businesses. This funding impacts public services, infrastructure, emergency services, healthcare, education and more! Researchers also use census data to explore community issues and possible solutions.
An incomplete census count has political and financial consequences, especially for communities that are home to hard-to-count populations, including college students, people who lack stable housing, people with disabilities, young children and those who do not speak English.
The census counts people where they live and sleep for most of the year. That means that students are generally counted here in Binghamton rather than at a parent/family address. Due to COVID-19, the Census Bureau has issued guidance that college students should still be counted at the residence they live while attending school, even if they have returned home, will be living at a different address next year, or have graduated. If you live off campus and have not responded to the census using your Binghamton address from spring 2020, you must take action now to be counted! The University coordinated with the Census Bureau to ensure all on-campus students are counted, and on-campus students do not need to take any further action.
You can do your part to make sure our community receives the political representation and access to public funding that it deserves by completing your census and reminding your friends to be counted! If you have ideas for census outreach or would like to partner on an outreach event or activity, please contact us at email@example.com.
Frequently asked questions
What is the census?
Every 10 years, the federal government conducts the census to count every person living in the United States. The census is mandated in the U.S. Constitution (Article 1, Section 2) and the first census was carried out in 1790. Census data is used to determine political representation and allocation of billions of dollars of federal funding!
Why is the census important to me?
Responding to the census is an important—and mandatory—civic duty! Being counted is also an act of political empowerment that determines political representation, including the number of seats your state is allocated in the U.S. House of Representatives and legislative redistricting at the state and federal level. Census data is also used to determine the allocation of $675 billion of federal funds annually! Data guides funding decisions at many levels of government and even some private funding. Researchers also use census data to explore community issues and possible solutions.
An incomplete census count has political and financial consequences, especially for communities that are home to hard-to-count populations, including college students, people who lack stable housing, people with disabilities, young children and those who do not speak English. By responding to the census, and encouraging your friends, family and neighbors to respond, you help ensure that all communities receive fair political representation and access to public funding.
How and when should I respond to the census?
For the first time, you will be able to respond to the census online! Most households received a letter in the mail in mid-March with instructions (in 12 different languages) on how to complete the census online or by phone. If you left the Binghamton area without responding, you must still respond now using the Binghamton address where you were living in the spring 2020 semester. If you no longer have the mailing with the response code, you can respond by entering your address.
Each “household” should submit only one census form. If you live with roommates, you are considered a “household” and will submit only one form that includes all the people who reside at your address. If it is not possible to coordinate with your roommates, you should still respond individually and include as much information as you can about everyone who was living with you in spring 2020. Even if your roommates also respond, the census has a process to remove duplicate responses.
Should college students be counted where they live while attending college?
The census counts people at the address where they live for most of the year. This means that most college students will be counted where they live while attending school, rather than at the “home” address where they live during breaks. Due to COVID-19, the Census Bureau has issued guidance that college students should still be counted at the residence they lived while attending school in spring 2020, even if they have returned home, will be living at a different address next year or have graduated. Because you will be counted at your address here in Binghamton, your parents should NOT count you when completing their census form. If you live at home/with your parents while attending Binghamton, you should be included on the census form for that household.
What if I returned home due to COVID-19 and the move to online instruction?
The Census Bureau has issued guidance that college students should still be counted at the residence they live while attending school, even if they have returned home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have not yet responded, you must respond now using the address where you were living in spring 2020. If you live with roommates, you should still work together to submit just one census form for everyone at your address. If everyone at your apartment returned home before receiving the census instructions in the mail, or you no longer have access to those instructions, you can still respond online by entering your address. If it is not possible to coordinate with your roommates, you can still submit an individual census response and include as much information as possible about everyone living with you in spring 2020. If your roommates also respond, the census has a process for removing duplicate responses.
What if I am studying abroad?
The census only counts people currently residing in the United States. If you are studying or living abroad during the census count, you will not receive a census mailing and will not submit a response. Students who are studying abroad for the entire spring semester will not be counted in the census. If you are travelling abroad for a short trip during the semester, you should still respond to the census.
How do I respond if I live on campus?
The University has coordinated with the Census Bureau to ensure all on-campus students are counted. Students residing on campus are considered part of the “group quarters” census count and will not need to submit an individual census response.
I live off campus. Should my roommates and I respond together?
Yes, you should coordinate and submit only one form for everyone living in your household/address. If this is not possible, you should still submit an individual response and include as much information as you can about everyone living with you in sring 2020. Even if your roommates also respond, the census can remove duplicate responses
What if I am not a U.S. citizen?
The census counts everyone who lives in the U.S. at the time of the census, which includes all non-citizens. International students should respond to the census in the same way as all other community members. Following a Supreme Court decision, there is not a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.
What does the census ask?
The census asks basic questions about the age, sex, race and ethnicity of those residing at your address, as well as how those living together are related and whether you rent or own your home.
Do I have to respond?
Yes, every person living in the United States is required to respond to the census. If you do not respond to the initial mailing, you will receive follow up communications, including in-person visits by census enumerators.
Is my information confidential?
By federal law, census data is confidential and can only be used to produce statistics. Identifiable information cannot be released, even to law enforcement agencies. Your responses cannot be used against you in any way, including by government agencies.
Can I work for the census?
The census is recruiting for jobs across the country, offering $20 per hour for part-time employees. Most positions are part time with flexible hours and can be a great fit for students. You can learn more and apply online.
How can I learn more?
You can learn more about the 2020 census by visiting the 2020 census website.