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The Census is much more than just a headcount!

The federal government conducts the Census once every decade. It includes the entire population of the United States so all individuals may be counted, and their basic information can be recorded. According to the United States Census Bureau , the accuracy of the Census provides a picture of our nation that helps determine where federal funding is distributed, how congressional seats are apportioned and provides a depiction of how individual communities have changed over time.

Our nation’s founders believed this data was so necessary that they mandated the decennial Census in the Constitution.

How is the approach to the 2020 Census different?

In 2020, for the first time, the U.S. Census Bureau will accept responses online. However, individuals can still respond by phone or mail.

The Census Bureau has digitized the 2020 census to save money. Data from the AARP article, The Importance of the 2020 Census, states that the 2010 census, which cost $10.2 billion, was the most expensive in history and that by taking the Census online, even partially is projected to save an estimated $5.2 billion.

The flyer, 2020 Census at a Glance , explains the 2020 Census and highlights dates. Click here to see a sample of the Census.

How will the Census specifically improve the lives of older Americans?
According to Census Bureau data and projections:

  • 2010: 13% of the nation’s population was 65+
  • 2020: 16% of the nation’s population is 65+
  • 2050: 20% percent of the population is expected to be 65+

More and more older adults want to stay in their homes and within their communities as they age, and the data collected in the 2020 census could increase the chances of that being a realistic goal. Census data has already provided property tax breaks to older homeowners in some regions, and over the next decade lawmakers will use the statistics from the Census to decide how to spend billions in federal funds on critical public services, such as:

  • First Responders
  • Supportive Housing for the Elderly
  • Libraries and Hospitals
  • Senior Centers, community centers
  • Medicare Part B health insurance
  • Aging Services agencies (like BayPath)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Senior Community Service Employment program
  • Public Transportation Systems

How will the online approach to the Census impact the nation’s older adults?

According to AARP, Older Americans have historically high levels of civic engagement and, as such, have been more likely than other age groups to return their U.S. census forms to make sure they were counted.

However, a recent U.S. Census Bureau survey found that 56 percent of those 65 and older aren’t comfortable with providing online responses, and will still fill out a paper census form. Many seniors either do not have access to a computer or are not comfortable using one, and seniors who are more computer savvy still have a high level of concern over the privacy and security of their information online. Click here for a fact sheet for older adults .

What steps does the Census Bureau take to keep responses safe and secure?

The Census Bureau is required by law to protect any personal information we collect and keep it strictly confidential. Every Census Bureau employee takes an oath to protect your personal data for life.

Online Security:

  • The Census Bureau has a robust cybersecurity program in place that incorporates industry best practices and federal security standards for encrypting data.

How to verify the authenticity of an in-person Census taker?

  • Real census employees won’t ask for your full Social Security number, for money or donations, or bank or credit card numbers.
  • Check to make sure that the person has a valid identification badge with his or her photograph, a Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date.
  • If you still suspect fraud, call the Census Bureau at 800-923-8282 to speak to a representative.

The Census Bureau has provided a user-friendly two-page flyer that addresses common data security concerns that you can download here:  The 2020 Census and Confidentiality.

Every household will have the option of responding online, by mail, or by phone. 

For more information on how and when you can take the Census online or in paper form, download this Census provided informational flyer:  How the 2020 Census will invite everyone to respond. Also, they have a guide for different living situations Where you are counted matters.

For more information, visit the U.S. Census Bureau website directly.

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