Southeast Michigan Counts

Frequently Asked Questions

We will update this page with new questions as we receive them.

To submit a question that you do not see, please email

Questions about Census 2020


  • How much help can my organization provide to people when they fill out the census?

Organizations can assist people in understanding what the census is and what it is used for, accessing the online form, navigating the census website, understanding what to expect on the form. Your organization may devise other strategies to promote census participation in undercounted populations. The U.S. Census Bureau highly discourages individuals from filling out another household’s census form. If the members of a household have challenges completing the form online or on paper, they will be able to fill out the census over the phone. When that phone number is made available, we will update this page to include it.


  • What will happen during the 2020 Census?

Most households will receive a mailing in February or March 2020 with instructions for online self-response. The mailing will also let you know the different options for completing the census such as filling out the form online, calling the Census Bureau to complete the form via phone or requesting a paper form in the mail. If you do not respond through any of those channels, the U.S. Census Bureau will send several reminder mailings. The census count will end in July 2020.


  • Is the 2020 census only available online?

No. Paper copies of the census form will be available. The census can also be completed by phone. However, to save cost and improve accuracy, the U.S. Census Bureau will strongly encourage households to fill the census out online.


  • How will people receive the 2020 census?

Every household will have the option of responding online, by mail or by phone. Nearly every household will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census in the mail, starting in March 2020. Follow up communication from the Census bureau will eventually include a paper survey.


  • Does everyone in my family need to fill out the Census?

The Census is a household survey, based on address. One person should fill out the Census on behalf of everyone who lives at that address on April 1, 2020, including all adults and all children, even if they are only temporarily staying there. Children under 5 are the largest undercounted population, so including them is critical for an accurate count.

  • How old do you have to be to complete the Census?

There is no “official” minimum age for completing a census form. A representative of the household should complete it.

  • If you skip questions, will your census still count?

The Census Bureau encourages everyone to fill out the entire Census.

  •  Is the Census Bureau hiring? How can I apply?

The federal government hires many people to help with the Census. Applications are taken online at

  • How will people in shelters or group homes be counted?

There are special efforts underway by the Census Bureau to count the homeless and people living in group quarters such as nursing homes, student dormitories, and prisons. You can learn more about where different populations should be counted here.


  • Once the census count begins in the spring of 2020, will there be a way to find out who has not yet completed their census form so that we can target our efforts?

The U.S. Census Bureau may provide updates of response rates by census tracts, but there is no way to know which households have submitted a response


  • Are there any resources that have best-practices for encouraging census participation?

There have been many national studies about messaging, trusted messengers and census strategies to build understanding of and participation for the 2020 census. You can find some by visiting the Census Resource page.