With the start of the 2020 Census only a month away, we all need to be thinking about our own households and who we need to count. The short answer is everyone, but we realize some households are more complex than others and there might be confusion about where to count members of your family.

Guidelines for counting children

If you are pregnant or have an infant: Parents should count all babies born on or before April 1, 2020, even if they are still in the hospital.

If your child splits time between two homes, for example, divorced parents: Count the child where he/she lives most often. If the child spends an equal amount of time between homes, count the location on April 1. Don’t forget to coordinate with other caregivers!

If you are raising a relative’s child (such as a grandchild, niece/nephew): If the child lives with you full time, even if the situation is temporary, count the child as part of your household. If the child splits time between homes, count the child where he/she lives most often. If the child spends an equal amount of time between homes, count the location on April 1.

If you are a foster parent: Even though foster care placements are temporary, if you have a child in your home on April 1, count that child as part of your household.

If you are an adoptive parent: Please count ALL children in your home, including the child you adopted.

If you live in a household with more people than allowed on the lease: Please count everyone! The U.S. Census Bureau does not share information with anyone, including landlords. Strict laws that include severe penalties and jail time protect you.

How do you fill out the Census?

Every household will receive mail-in March asking you to fill out the brief Census questionnaire. The letter will give you instructions for each of these options for filling it out:

1) on the computer or on your smartphone (you will need an internet connection) OR

2) talking to someone over the phone OR

3) filling out and mailing back the paper survey

What’s the timeline for the 2020 Census?

Mid-March: Initial invitations to respond online and by phone will be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. Areas that are less likely to respond online will receive a paper questionnaire along with the invitation to respond online or over the phone.

Later in March and early April: Reminder letters will be delivered, followed by reminder postcards to households that have not responded.

Throughout April: Two final reminders, along with paper questionnaires, will be delivered to remaining households that have not yet responded.

Mid-May through July: If a household does not respond to any of the invitations, a census taker will follow up in person.

Click here to download our flyer about counting children and families.

If you do not want a census taker to come to your door, please complete the 2020 Census when you are first invited! It takes 10 minutes to complete.