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5 Facts Vs. Myths About the 2020 Census

March 30th, 2020 Back to Browse Stories

The census is a massive undertaking, and there’s plenty of information circulating. Know what’s true and what’s a myth.

Myth: The census doesn’t really impact me or my family.

Fact: Every person counted matters. The amount of federal money for Medicaid, grants for police and fire, free school lunches, food assistance, and even college student aid is determined by the census, and depends on YOU submitting your census form.

Myth: The government can use my census information against me.

Fact: Federal law requires that your personal information: name, address, age, race, etc. on the census be sealed for 72 YEARS. No one can access your census info — NOT the government, NOT insurance companies, NOT Friend of the Court, NOT your landlord, NOT social services.

Myth: I have to use the address on my license for the census.

Fact: The only address that matters is where you actually live — where you eat and sleep regularly. If you live in southeast Michigan, be counted as a southeast Michigander.

Myth: The census only counts citizens.

Fact: The census is required by the U.S. Constitution to count everybody. Immigration status does not matter. The census takes place every 10 years and includes people who are homeless, incarcerated, kids in foster care or living with a relative, college students in dorms, renters — EVERYONE.

Myth: I have to answer every question on the census form.

Fact: Even if you only answer one question, the number of people who live in your household, your census form will still be accepted. If you do not submit a form by May 1, 2020, a U.S. Census Bureau worker is required by law to visit your home to collect the information.

3 Ways You Can Help with the 2020 Census

  1. Fill Out Your Census Form

There are a total of nine basic questions on the census ballot (more depending on how many people are in your household), which can take you as little as 10 minutes to complete.

  1. Encourage Others to Fill Out Their Form

Historically, undercounted populations include people of color, immigrants, renters, residents of low-income households, the elderly, and the very young.

  1. Remind Others That All Census Information is Confidential

Federal law protects your census responses. Your answers can only be used to produce statistics.

Learn more about the 2020 census