Census Facts for Immigrants

Be counted! Filling out the U.S. Census form is easy, safe and important

Every ten years, the federal government counts everyone living in the United States and its five territories. This task, which is mandated by the Constitution, is overseen by the U.S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency.

Filling us the U.S. Census form is easy

The 2020 Census will ask a few simple questions about you and everyone who is living with you.

Each home is receiving invitations to respond to a short questionnaire—online, by phone, or by mail. It’s quick and easy. The questionnaire will take about 10 minutes to complete.

Please complete your form online, by phone, or by mail when your invitation to respond arrives. Visit my2020census.gov to respond online.

You should be counted where you are living and sleeping most of the time as of April 1, 2020. One person should respond for each home. Count everyone who lives and sleeps there most of the time as of April 1, 2020. This includes young children, foster children, roommates, and any family members or friends who are living with you, even temporarily.

The U.S. Census is important

The results of the 2020 Census will inform decisions about allocating hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding and other critical programs and services.

Your participation helps to direct $675 billion in federal funds to local communities across the country—for hospitals, fire departments, school lunch programs, for schools, roads, Section 8 housing. public services to more than 100 programs, including Medicaid, Head Start, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP, for the next decade.  

It also will be used to determine the number of seats each state has in Congress

The U.S. Census is safe

You should know that, during the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau will never ask for:

Your Social Security numbers.

Your bank account or credit card numbers.

Money or donations

The Census Bureau is bound by Title 13 of the U.S. Code to keep your information confidential. It’s safe, secure, and confidential. Your information and privacy are protected.

The Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about you, your home, or your business, to law enforcement agencies. The law ensures that your private data is protected and that your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court. Violating Title 13 is a federal crime, punishable by prison time and/or a fine of up to $250,000.

The answers you provide are used only to produce statistics. You are kept anonymous: The Census Bureau is not permitted to publicly release your responses in any way that could identify you or anyone else in your home.

From the beginning of the data collection process, the Census Bureau follows industry best practices and federal requirements to protect your data.

All responses are kept confidential. The 2020 Census caller will not ask about your financial information or Social Security number. They will only review the responses that you previously provided.

Census takers will start visiting some neighborhoods in late spring and summer for quality checks and follow up with homes who have not yet responded online, by phone, or by mail

All census takers carry an ID badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date.

If you suspect fraud, call 844-330-2020 to speak with a Census Bureau representative. If it is determined that the visitor who came to your door does not work for the Census Bureau, contact your local police department.

 Language support is available

Visit the Census Resources for Immigrants page at the Greater Portland Council of Governments. There, you will find Census documents translated into languages spoken by many immigrants in Portland: Arabic, French, Haitian-Creole, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Lingala and Somali.  You will also find videos in 13 languages.

English and Spanish Language Hours of Operation: Customer Service Representatives are available every day from 7am to 2am Eastern Time on the following phone lines:

Non-English and Non-Spanish Language Hours of Operation: Customer Service Representatives are available Monday through Friday from 8am to 10 pm Eastern Time on the following phone lines: