Please note: In an effort to assist in slowing the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), the U.S. Census Bureau has suspended field operations until April 1 and has extended the self-response deadline until October 31, 2020. We will continue to monitor the situation and share any relevant information on this page. All households can continue to respond to the census online at my2020census.gov, over the phone, or by paper form (if one was received). See below for more details.
Census 2020: Everyone Counts!
For the first time, the United States Census will be conducted primarily online. In mid-March, households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail with detailed information about how to respond to the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrives, individuals will be able to respond online, by phone, or by mail. Counting every person living in the United States is a massive undertaking and requires support and time (view 2020 Census timeline).
As library workers, we understand that accurate data can help us determine how best to serve our communities, which is why supporting complete count committees can help ensure an accurate representation of Texas.
What is the Census?
The Census is a survey that collects basic information on all individuals residing in the United States, regardless of immigration status or citizenship. The results of the Census are essential to our communities because they impact funding and representation to local communities over the next decade. The data from the Census is used to guide reappointment and redistricting from our political districts to school zones. The results of the 2020 Census also determine how hundreds of billions of dollars are allocated for critical services like health care, education, and economic development.
Why is it important?
If everyone is not counted, then our communities miss out on their fair share of resources or political power. With an accurate count, Texas is estimated to gain three to four congressional seats after the Census. However, Texas is at a high risk of being undercounted because we have a higher percentage of what are considered hard-to-count populations.
Hard-to-count populations include anyone that is hard-to-locate, hard-to-contact, hard-to-persuade, and/or hard-to-interview. Some examples of hard-to-count populations are low-income populations, displaced individuals or individuals experiencing homelessness, individuals residing in rural or geographically isolated locations, recent or undocumented immigrants, and young children, to name a few.
The most important thing to remember is that when everyone is counted, every person counts.
How can libraries help?
Beginning mid-March, letters will be mailed to households with an invitation to complete the Census online at my2020census.gov or by calling 844-330-2020. Your libraries can begin by familiarizing yourself with the sample invitation letter and sample paper questionnaire (in English and Spanish).
Help break down the barrier to access by making it easier for individuals to complete the 2020 Census in your library spaces by doing the following:
- Provide internet access and public computer use.
- Create Census Family Kits.
- Join a local Complete Count Committees.
- Incorporate 2020 Census information in newsletters, social media posts, podcasts, mailings, and website.
- Help recruit for 2020 Census jobs for you community when they become available.
Helpful Tools & Resources
Resources for Libraries
Preparing My library for the 2020 Census (2 pages)
Libraries and the 2020 Census: responding to the Census (2 pages)
Resources from Census Bureau
American Libraries Live: Libraries and the Census (March 4, 2020)
ALA ODLOS: Census 2020 Outreach to Communities of Color (February 18, 2020)
YALSA: Engaging Teens in the 2020 Census (February 13, 2020)
TSLAC: What Does the 2020 Census Mean for Libraries (February 6, 2020)
TSLAC: Preparing Texas Libraries for the 2020 Census (September 5, 2019).
Frequently Asked Questions
There have been a few issues of mistrust surrounding the 2020 Census. Below you will find some useful links to help you address misconceptions and frequently asked questions.
FAQs from Census Bureau
Why 2020 Census Matters
Focus your outreach efforts and learn about how the 2020 Census impacts every individual living in your community using the following resources.
Disability Rights Texas: Accessible Census 2020. Disability Rights Texas is proud to partner with the Census Bureau through a grant from the HOGG Foundation for Mental Health to make sure Texans with disabilities are counted.
National LGBTQ Task Force: Queer the Census 2020. The National LGBTQ Task Force is working with colleagues in the LGBTQ and social justice movements to ensure that everyone, especially individuals from marginalized communities, are counted on the 2020 Census
The Arc: Census 2020. The Arc has developed resources to support individuals and organizations in understanding what the census is, why it is important for people with disabilities, and how to complete it.
¡Hazme Contar! Hazme Contar is a sub-campaign of NALEO Educational Fund’s national ¡Hágase Contar! Census 2020 Campaign with a specific focus on ensuring the full count of young Latino children across the country.
Count Us In 2020. Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) is a national affiliation of five organizations advocating for an accurate count of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities (AANHPI) in the 2020 Census.
Yalla, Count Me In! A national, grassroots coalition-led movement to Get Out The Count (GOTC) of Arab Americans for the 2020 Census. It is a joint project of the Arab American Institute Foundation and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
For questions about this information, contact Laura Tadena, Equity and Inclusion Consultant.