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When Is the 2020 Census Coming to You?

Here's a timeline of when to expect your form

Census mail form

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En español | There are more than 330 million people living in the United States. This year the Census Bureau will undertake the process of figuring out exactly where each one of them lives. Here's a quick timeline of what that means for you.

The U.S. Constitution requires the Census Bureau to conduct a full count of the nation's population every 10 years. That tally is used to determine how many legislators each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives for the next decade. The numbers also help policymakers figure out where roughly $675 billion in federal funding gets spent each year.

Most people should expect to receive their census invitation in the mail in mid-March, but the bureau is already busy, currently hiring more than 500,000 workers just to help with the count and opening 248 additional offices nationwide.

Here's what to expect in the months ahead.

January 2020

The Alaska native village of Toksook Bay, west of Bethel on the Bering Sea, will be the first place to be counted. Why start there? Some of the remote villages in Alaska aren't connected to the internet and don't have at-home mail delivery, so locally hired census workers will have to go door-to-door. That's easier to do in the winter when the ground is frozen, says Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham. “We are working hard with state and tribal leaders as well as community organizations to make sure that the Alaska native population and everyone in Alaska — no matter where they live — receive information about the 2020 census and why it is so important to be counted,” he says.

March 2020

Most Americans will receive their first invitation to complete their census forms this month. For 95 percent of the nation, this invite will arrive in the mail, but the forms can be filled out online, by phone or by mail.

April 2020

April 1 is Census Day, when all U.S. households will have received at least one invitation to fill out their form. As you complete your form you should use the address that is your primary residence as of April 1. This month census takers will also start surveying senior centers and colleges, to conduct the counts on those larger residences.

May 2020

For those who haven't completed their household census form yet, this month is when workers will start going door-to-door throughout most of the country to assist stragglers. Completing your census form is important for your community and the nation, but make sure to beware of potential scammers. If someone comes to your door, start by asking for a valid Census Bureau ID card.

December 2020

The Census Bureau will provide Congress and the president with the results of the 2020 count.

March 2021

By the end of the month, the Census Bureau will send each state its redistricting counts. These figures will be used to determine new legislative districts and also where federal funding is spent.

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