All University of Idaho students should take the Census. As advised by the U.S. Census Bureau, students living away from home at school should be counted at school, even if they are temporarily elsewhere due to the COVID-19 pandemic (this includes graduating seniors who do not have plans to stay in Moscow post-graduation).
By Apr. 1 every home will receive an invitation to participate in the United States 2020 Census. You will have three options for responding:
- By phone
- By mail
In mid-March, households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census. We have complied a list of frequently asked questions to help you understand and respond to the 2020 Census:
Frequently Asked Questions About the 2020 Census
A census is an official, complete count of a population, which aims to count each person in the United States. A census record details about each person, such as age, sex, and living arrangement.
The Census Bureau which is under the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The U.S. Constitution mandates that a census be taken every 10 years to count all people—both citizens and non-citizens—living in the United States.
It plays a vital role in many areas of public life:
- Allocate seats in the House of Representatives across the 50 states.
- State and local officials use census results to help redraw congressional, state, and local district boundaries to meet the one-person, one-vote rule.
- Guide the distribution of more than $675 billion in federal funds to states and local communities for health, education, housing and infrastructure programs.
- Support public, nonprofit and commercial research.
- Governments and nonprofit organizations rely on census data to determine the need for new roads, hospitals, schools and other public-sector investments.
- Census data are also vital to businesses as a key source of information about the changing needs of the U.S. population.
Information essential to population characteristics, including age, sex, marital status, household composition, family characteristics and household size will be collected. Questions will be asked about your:
- Relationship status
- Date of birth
- Hispanic/non-Hispanic origin
There will be a total of 12 questions asked.
The questionnaire asks for people's names to ensure that each household member is counted only once. Names, along with other information in the questionnaire, help Census workers "de-duplicate" the data—which means to remove extra records if a person appears more than once in the count.
Foreign citizens are considered to be living in the United States if, at the time of the 2020 Census, they're living and sleeping most of the time at a U.S. residence. The foreign resident population includes legal permanent residents, international students in the United States on student visas, foreign diplomats and embassy staff and other foreign citizens who reside in the United States on Census Day. However, citizens of foreign countries visiting the United States (such as on a vacation or business trip) are not counted in the 2020 Census.
Participation is mandatory, as described in Title 13 of the U.S. Code. Refusal to respond can result in a fine. However, no one has been prosecuted for failing to respond to the Census since the 1970 Census.
If you don't respond, you can expect the Census Bureau to follow up in person to collect the information they need. According to United States Code, Title 13 (Census), Chapter 7 (Offenses and Penalties), Sub Chapter II, if you're over 18 and refuse to answer all or part of the Census, you can be fined up to $100. If you give false answers, you're subject to a fine of up to $500.
While participation in the 2020 Census—and answering all questions—is mandatory, people occasionally leave a question blank. The Census Bureau uses a statistical procedure to fill in any missing responses.
The confidentiality of census records is protected by Title 13 of the U.S. Code. No data or tabulation may be produced that could be used to identify an individual. Individual records may not be released for at least 72 years.
By law, your 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).
Your personal information is kept confidential. The Census Bureau is bound by federal law to protect your information and your data is used only for statistical purposes. Your responses are compiled with information from other homes to produce statistics which never identifies your home or any person in your home.
Yes. The Census Online Questionnaire makes it easier to provide census materials in multiple languages. The U.S. Census Bureau provides translated web pages and guides in 59 non-English languages, including American Sign Language, as well as guides in braille and large print.
The nation should see the very first results from the 2020 Census in the form of total population counts for the nation and each state in late 2020 or early 2021. In 2021 each state receives local-level 2020 Census data on race and the voting age population. All files are scheduled to be released by September 2023.
Census results help determine how much federal funding communities will receive over the next 10 years.
When responding to the 2020 Census, college students should be counted where they live and sleep most of the time as of Apr. 1. For most students that means in their college town and not back home with their parents.
Students who live in campus dormitories and residence halls and university-recognized sorority and fraternity houses will be counted as part of the 2020 Census Group Quarters Enumeration operation. A representative of each group quarters will be given several choices for how to handle counting the students who are living there.
If you live in a fraternity or sorority, your chapter president will have more information for you.
If you live in a residence hall, the Housing offices (Wallace second floor) will have more information for you.
If you live in family housing on campus you should take the 2020 Census online or via mail - no one else will report that information for you.
Students who live in off-campus housing that is not designed specifically for students, such as a rental apartment or house, need to respond to the census themselves. They should not count on their landlord to fill out a 2020 Census questionnaire. Residents of every housing unit should work together to fill out one questionnaire per household. They should include all roommates (including non-students) who live and sleep in the home most of the time.
- The Census Bureau will never ask you for:
- Your Social Security number
- Money or donations
- Anything on behalf of a political party
- Your bank or credit card account numbers
- If someone claiming to be from the Census Bureau contacts you via email or phone and asks you for one of these things, it's a scam, and you should not cooperate.
- Did you know you can respond online? Visit 2020census.gov/languages.
- Young adults ages 18 to 29 are least likely to participate in the Census.
- The Census is the U.S. government's largest peacetime operation. At its peak for the 2010 census, more than one million census workers counted roughly 310 million people in some 120 million households. This works out to 1 census worker for every 310 residents.
- The Census is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.
- A question about U.S. citizenship has not been included among the Census questions for all U.S. households since 1950.
- College students looking to get involved in 2020 can also apply online for part-time census jobs, which range in pay from $13 to $30 an hour. These jobs are a great opportunity for students to earn extra income while completing their studies—and to help ensure their college town is counted in 2020.