Respond to the Census to shape the future of the country - and your community
Ninety-five percent or about 143 million households in the country will receive an initial invitation to respond to the 2020 Census in their mailboxes between March 12 and 20. Responding to the census helps communities including the City of Temple Terrace get the funding they need and helps businesses make data-driven decisions that grow the economy. Census data impact our daily lives, informing important decisions about funding for services and infrastructure in your community, including health care, senior centers, jobs, political representation, roads, schools, and businesses. More than $675 billion in federal funding flows back to states and local communities each year based on census data.
The 2020 Census and Confidentiality
Your responses to the 2020 Census are safe, secure, and protected by federal law. Your answers can only be used to produce statistics—they cannot be used against you in any way. By law, all responses to U.S. Census Bureau household and business surveys are kept completely confidential.
The law is clear—no personal information can be shared
Under Title 13 of the U.S. Code, the Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about individuals, households, or businesses, even to law enforcement agencies. The law states that the information collected may only be used for statistical purposes and no other purpose. To support historical research, Title 44 of the U.S. Code allows the National Archives and Records Administration to release census records only after 72 years. All Census Bureau staff take a lifetime oath to protect your personal information, and any violation comes with a penalty of up to $250,000 and/or up-to 5 years in prison.
Laws protecting personal census information have withstood challenges
In 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that even addresses are confidential and cannot be disclosed through legal discovery or the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In 2010, the U.S. Justice Department determined that the Patriot Act does not override the law that protects the confidentiality of individual census responses. No court of law can subpoena census responses.
By law, your responses cannot be used against you
The Census Bureau is required by law to protect any personal information we collect and keep it strictly confidential. The Census Bureau can only use your answers to produce statistics. In fact, every Census Bureau employee takes an oath to protect your personal information for life. Your answers cannot be used for law enforcement purposes or to determine your personal eligibility for government benefits or by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
It’s your choice: you can respond securely online, by mail or by phone
You will have the option of responding online, by mail or by phone. If Households that don’t respond in one of these ways will be visited by a census taker to collect the information in person.
Your online responses are safe from hacking and other cyberthreats
The Census Bureau takes strong precautions to keep online responses secure. All data submitted online are encrypted to protect personal privacy, and their cybersecurity program meets the highest and most recent standards for protecting personal information. Once the data are received, they are no longer online. From the moment the Census Bureau collects responses, their focus and legal obligation is to keep them safe.