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What Is the 2020 Census?

The 2020 Census counted every person living in the United States and the five U.S. territories.

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The count is mandated by the Constitution and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency. Each home received an invitation to respond to a short questionnaire—online, by phone, or by mail. This marked the first time that everyone could respond to the census online.

Why We Conduct This Count

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 sevices 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 marked the 24th time that the country has counted its population; the first was in 1790.

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Counting Everyone

Participating in the 2020 Census was required by law. 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.


Test your history with this census quiz.

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