Every ten years since 1790 the United States has conducted a census. The census was created so that every person living in the United States is counted. The data collected by the census is used to determine representation in Congress, funding for building schools, hospitals and roads, job growth, and community initiatives.
That means that 2020 will be a census year. Due to the sensitive information they collect, security has always been important to the Census Bureau. In fact, our responses to the Census are protected by law. Under Title 13 of the U.S. Code, the U.S. Census Bureau cannot release any information that identifies anyone individually. All Census Bureau employees and contractors are sworn for life to always protect data collected during the census, and violating their oath can cost them a fine up to $250,000 and/or up to a five-year prison sentence. 2020 will be the first year that the census will be available to fill out online (more information here), opens a new window, so the Census Bureau is even more concerned about security and ensuring our responses are safe. To ensure that the first census online is successful and secure, the Census Bureau has a team of cyber security experts working around the clock to monitor and protect all agency technology.
So, whether you respond to the 2020 Census via online, over the phone, by mail, or someone comes to your door, the Census Bureau has designed the information collection process with security as one of the highest priorities. That means we will all feel more comfortable responding to the 2020 Census and ensure we are all counted. More information on security and the 2020 Census here, opens a new window, here,, opens a new window and here, opens a new window.
For information about avoiding fraud and scams with the 2020 census can be found here, opens a new window.
If you are interested in seeing a sample census questionnaire that can be found here, opens a new window.