Data collection for the 2020 Census is now complete.
About the United States Census
It’s time to take the #2020Census! The Census is a count of every person living in the United States and its five territories as of April 1 every 10 years. That means our country only collects this data once every decade. But the information is critically important, which is why Hays County urges every person living in our county to complete the Census.
Participating in the census is required by law, even if you recently completed another survey from the Census Bureau. A complete and accurate count is critical for you and your community, because the results of the 2020 Census will affect community funding, congressional representation, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is there a census in the United States?
The 2020 Census counts every person living in the United States and five U.S. territories. The count is mandated by the Constitution and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency. The 2020 Census counts the population in the United States and five U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Each home will receive an invitation to respond to a short questionnaire—online, by phone, or by mail—between March 12-20.
The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and your community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data.
The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.
It’s also in the Constitution: Article 1, Section 2, mandates that the country conduct a count of its population once every 10 years. The 2020 Census will mark the 24th time that the country has counted its population since 1790.
Is there truly a law saying everyone must complete the Census?
Yes. Article I, Section 2, of the U.S. constitution requires that this population and housing count occur every 10 years. We are conducting the 2020 Census under the authority of U.S. Code Title 13, sections 141, 193, and 221. This collection of information has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget.
Who is required to take the Census?
Everyone living in the United States and its five territories as of April 1, 2020 is required to complete the Census. That includes families, individuals, people in group homes and assisted living facilities, military personnel, those who are incarcerated, college students and anyone else. Even persons who are experiencing homelessness.
What is done with the information provided?
By law, the U.S. Census Bureau can use your responses only to produce statistics. 2020 Census results will help in directing billions of dollars in federal funds to communities for schools, roads, and other public services. Results from the 2020 Census will also help to determine the number of seats that each state has in Congress.
How does the Census protect my information?
We take our responsibility to protect your information very seriously. The Federal Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2015 ensures sure that your data is protected from cybersecurity risks. The Census Bureau is not permitted to publicly release your responses in a way that could identify you or your household. By law, the Census Bureau can use your responses only to produce statistics. If you respond online, all web data submissions are encrypted in order to protect your privacy. If you respond using a paper questionnaire, your completed questionnaire will be destroyed after processing.
Should college students claim Hays County as their residence, even if they’ve been living with family during the COVID pandemic?
Per the Census Bureau’s residence criteria, in most cases students living away from home at school should be counted at school, even if they are temporarily elsewhere due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
How are homeless individuals counted?
What programs and services are funded based on Census data?
The census provides critical data used to provide daily services, products, and support for you and your community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data.
Where am I counted?
The goal of the 2020 Census is a complete and accurate count of everyone living in the United States and its five territories. You should count yourself at the place where you are living and sleeping most of the time as of April 1, 2020 (Census Day).
For some, this is straightforward. But others—including college students, service members, and people in health care facilities—may have questions about where they should count themselves or how they should respond. Other circumstances can cause confusion as well, such as moving, having multiple residences, having no permanent address, living in a shelter, or living at a hotel or RV park.
If you are filling out the census for your home, you should count everyone who is living there as of April 1, 2020. This includes anyone—related or unrelated to you—who lives and sleeps at your home most of the time.
Please be sure to count roommates, young children, newborns, and anyone who is renting a space in your home. If someone is staying in your home on April 1 and has no usual home elsewhere, you should count them in your response to the 2020 Census.
If someone such as a college student is just living with you temporarily due to the COVID-19 situation, they should be counted where they ordinarily would be living on April 1, 2020.
Please count everyone living in your home. Where there are more people, there are more needs. An accurate count helps inform funding for hospitals, fire departments, schools, and roads for the next 10 years.
How can I complete the Census?By Phone Online By Mail
Starting in July, census takers will visit homes that haven’t yet responded to the 2020 Census.
How long does it take to fill out the Census?
Completing the Census takes less than 10 minutes.
What kind of questions are asked?
The 2020 Census asks how many people are living or staying at each address. For each person, we ask about name, sex, age, date of birth, relationship, Hispanic origin, and race. We also will ask whether the housing unit, such as the house, apartment, or mobile home, is owned or rented, and for contact information in case additional information is needed. There is no citizenship question on the 2020 Census.
My Question Wasn’t Answered
See answers to many more FAQs on the 2020 Census website.
For who to count, see this page.