How Census Data Is Used

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Your Community Is Counting On You

Respond to the 2020 Census to Shape the Future

Responding to the census helps communities 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 representations, roads, schools, and businesses. More than $675 billion in Federal funding flows back states and local communities each year based on census data.

Your Census Responses Are Safe and Secure

The Census Bureau is required by law to protect any personal information it collects 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.

2020 Census PSA: Is My 2020 Census Data Safe? (:30)


By Law, Your Responses Cannot Be Used Against You

By law, your census responses cannot be used against you by any government agency or court in any way - not by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), not by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), not by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and not by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The law required the Census Bureau to keep your information confidential and use your responses only to produce statistics.

Data Protection and Privacy

Being responsible stewards of your data is not only required by law, it is embedded in Census Bureau culture. Strict policies and statistical safeguards help protect the confidentiality of your information. Before releasing data products, the Census Bureau verifies that they meet its confidentiality standards.

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.

Secure Technology

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

The security of Census Bureau systems is a top priority, and our IT infrastructure is designed to defend against and contain cyber threats. We continually refine our approach to identifying, preventing, detecting, and responding to these threats.

*Information from the 2020 Census Website

Top Five Reasons You Should Fill Out the Census

#1 Help Your Community Thrive

Does your neighborhood have a lot of traffic congestion, elderly people living alone or overcrowded schools? Census numbers can help your community work out public improvement strategies. 

Non-profit organizations use census numbers to estimate the number of potential volunteers in communities across the nation.

#2 Get Help in Times of Need

Many 911 emergency systems are based on maps developed for the last census. Census information helps health providers predict the spread of disease through communities with children or elderly people. When floods, tornadoes or earthquakes hit, the census tells rescuers how many people need their help.

When Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida in 1992, census information aided the rescue effort by providing estimates of the number of people in each block.

#3 Make Government Work for You

It's a good way to tell our leaders who we are and what we need. The numbers are used to help determine the distribution of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal and state funds. We're talking hospitals, highways, stadiums and school lunch programs.

Using census numbers to support their request for a new community center, senior citizens in one New England community successfully argued their case before county commissioners.

#4 Reduce Risk for American Businesses

Because census numbers help industry reduce financial risk and locate potential markets, businesses are able to produce the products you want.

"All the Basic Facts You Need to Know to Start a New Business," a publication of the Massachusetts Department of Commerce, shows small businesses how to use census numbers to determine the marketability of new products.

#5 Help Yourself and Your Family

Individual records are held confidential for 72 years, but you can request a certificate from past censuses that can be used as proof to establish your age, residence or relationship, information that could help you qualify for a pension, establish citizenship or obtain an inheritance. In 2072, your great-grandchildren may want to use census information to research family history. Right now, your children may be using census information to do their homework.

Because we've had a census every 10 years since 1970, we know how far America has come.