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Who To Count

Before completing the 2020 Census, you need to know where to count yourself and who to count with you in your home.

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Where You Are Counted

The goal of the 2020 Census is a complete and accurate count of everyone living in the United States and its five territories. You should count yourself at the place where you are living and sleeping most of the time as of April 1, 2020 (Census Day).

For some, this is straightforward. But others—including college students, service members, and people in health care facilities—may have questions about where they should count themselves or how they should respond. Other circumstances can cause confusion as well, such as moving, having multiple residences, having no permanent address, living in a shelter, or living at a hotel or RV park.

You can find answers to these questions below.

For more details about where people are counted, view the Official Residence Criteria for the 2020 Census.

Count Everyone Living With You

If you are filling out the census for your home, you should count everyone who is living there as of April 1, 2020. This includes anyone—related or unrelated to you—who lives and sleeps at your home most of the time.

Please be sure to count roommates, young children, newborns, and anyone who is renting a space in your home. If someone is staying in your home on April 1 and has no usual home elsewhere, you should count them in your response to the 2020 Census.

If someone such as a college student is just living with you temporarily due to the COVID-19 situation, they should be counted where they ordinarily would be living on April 1, 2020.

Please count everyone living in your home. Where there are more people, there are more needs. An accurate count helps inform funding for hospitals, fire departments, schools, and roads for the next 10 years.

Special Circumstances

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Whether you are a high school or college student, your circumstances will determine where you are counted in the 2020 Census:

  • Boarding school students below the college level should be counted at the home of their parents or guardians.
  • Students who are living at home should be counted at their home address.
  • College students who live away from home should be counted at the on- or off- campus residence where they live and sleep most of the time, even if they are at home on April 1, 2020. This includes students who are home early because of the COVID-19 situation.
  • Students who are living at home should be counted at their home address.
  • College students who live away from home should be counted at the on- or off- campus residence where they live and sleep most of the time, even if they are at home on April 1, 2020. If they live in housing designed for college students (such as dorms, or apartments with “by-the-bed” leases), they will be counted as part of the Group Quarters Operation. If they live off campus in housing that is not designed for college students (such as a private house or apartment), they should count themselves at that address.
  • High school or college students who are living or studying abroad outside the United States on April 1, 2020, are not counted in the census.
  • Students who are no longer living abroad are counted where they are living in the U.S. on April 1.
  • If someone such as a college student is just living with you temporarily due to the COVID-19 situation, they should be counted where they ordinarily would be living on April 1, 2020.
  • Foreign students living and attending school in the United States should be counted at the on- or off-campus residence where they live and sleep most of the time.
Component ID: #ti170390004

If you are an active duty service member (or a Reserves or Guard member), your circumstances will determine how you are counted in the 2020 Census:

  • Living in a housing unit on a military base? You can respond to the census online, by phone, or by mail.
  • Living in U.S. barracks on a military base? The Census Bureau will identify a military point of contact on your base to ensure that you are counted. This could mean completing the census form yourself.
  • Living in a campground on a military base? A census worker will visit you at the campground and collect your response.
  • Assigned to a U.S. military vessel? A military point of contact, vessel project officer, commander, or operator will provide a census form for you to complete.
  • Deployed outside the United States on Census Day? Using existing data provided by the Department of Defense, the Census Bureau will count you at the U.S. residence where you live and sleep most of the time.
  • Stationed outside the United States on Census Day? Using existing data provided by the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security, the Census Bureau will count you (along with any dependents living with you outside the U.S.) as part of the U.S. federally affiliated overseas population.

Babies born on or before April 1, 2020, should be counted at the home where they will live or sleep most of the time, even if they are still in the hospital on Census Day.

Babies born after April 1, 2020, should not be counted in the 2020 Census.

You should count yourself where you live and sleep most of the time, even if you are away from your usual residence on April 1, 2020.

Visitors who are staying in your home on April 1, 2020, but who will return to their normal residence should be counted where they live and sleep most of the time.

Residents of foreign countries who are temporarily visiting the United States on vacation or business on April 1, 2020, should not be counted.

Citizens of foreign countries who are living in the United States, including members of the diplomatic community, should be counted at the U.S. residence where they live and sleep most of time.

Citizens of foreign countries who are temporarily visiting the United States on vacation or business on April 1, 2020, should not be counted.

If you live outside the country, and you are not employed by the U.S. government or as a member of the U.S. military, you are not counted in this census.

The Census Bureau will use existing official records to count military and civilian employees of the U.S. government who are living outside the United States as well as the dependents living with them overseas. These individuals do not need to respond to a questionnaire.

If you live at multiple places throughout the year, count yourself at the address where you live and sleep most of the time. If you split your time evenly between two or more places, count yourself where you are staying on April 1, 2020.

If you are moving, be sure to count yourself just once, in one home. Count yourself where you were living on April 1, 2020.

  • If you move into your new residence on April 1, count yourself at that residence.
  • If you move out of your old residence on April 1 but will not move into your new home until April 2 or later, count yourself at the old residence.

The following types of patients will be counted at the residence where they live and sleep most of the time:

  • Patients in the hospital for a routine stay.
  • Patients at inpatient hospice facilities.
  • Newborn babies (who should be counted where they will live after leaving the hospital).

The following types of patients will be counted at the health care facility where they're staying on April 1, 2020:

  • People with no usual home.
  • People in psychiatric hospitals or psychiatric units for long-term, nonacute care.
  • People in nursing facilities.

Please visit Counting People in Group Living Arrangements for more information.

People who are living in any of the following facility types on April 1, 2020, will be counted at their facility:

  • Federal and state prisons.
  • Federal detention centers.
  • Local jails and other municipal confinement facilities.
  • Correctional residential facilities.

Please visit Counting People in Group Living Arrangements for more information.

If you are living in an emergency or transitional shelter that provides sleeping facilities for people experiencing homelessness, you will be counted at the shelter. Please visit Counting People in Group Living Arrangements for more information.

If you have been displaced by a natural disaster, you should count yourself where you are living and sleeping most of the time as of April 1, 2020. If your usual residence is not condemned or destroyed, you should count yourself there. If your usual residence is condemned or destroyed, you should count yourself where you are staying on April 1, 2020, such as a friend’s or family member’s home or a residence where you are living until your new or previous home is built or repaired.

If you are living or staying at a campground, a recreational vehicle park, a marina, a hotel, or another transitory location, the Census Bureau has a special process in place to make sure you are counted in the 2020 Census. Census takers will visit these locations to conduct interviews in person. If you have a usual home elsewhere, you will be asked to provide the address of that home so that you can be counted there. Please visit How Are People Counted at RV Parks, Campgrounds, and Other Transitory Locations? for more information.

If you do not have a permanent address, you should count yourself where you are living on April 1, 2020. For example, if you are temporarily staying with a friend, you would be counted as part of the census form for their address.

The Census Bureau has specific processes in place to count people who are experiencing homelessness, including people who are in shelters, at soup kitchens and mobile food vans, and in nonsheltered, outdoor locations such as tent encampments. In those cases, census takers will coordinate with shelter directors, service providers, partners, and local census offices.

People experiencing homelessness can also go to a public library and complete a census questionnaire online by providing a description of the location where they were sleeping on April 1, 2020.

                                                                                    

The 2020 Census is for everyone. 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

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In general, students in colleges and universities temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 virus will still be counted as part of this process. Even if they are home on census day, April 1, they should be counted according to the residence criteria which states they should be counted where they live and sleep most of the time. We are asking schools to contact their students and remind them to respond. Per the Census Bureau’s residence criteria, in most cases students living away from home at school should be counted at school, even if they are temporarily elsewhere due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Visit the COVID-19 Press Kit to learn more.

Yes. Everyone living in the United States and its five territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) is required by law to be counted in the census—whether they are citizens or not.

Citizens of foreign countries who are living in the United States during the 2020 Census, including members of the diplomatic community, should be counted at the U.S. residence where they live and sleep most of time. If they are not sure about where they usually live, count them where they are staying on April 1, 2020.

Citizens of foreign countries who are temporarily visiting the United States on vacation or business on April 1, 2020, should not be counted. 

The 2020 Census counts everyone who is living in the United States on April 1, 2020 (Census Day). You should not respond if you are living in another country on April 1, 2020. If your relative is living in another country on April 1, 2020, do not include them on your census form.

The Census Bureau works with the U.S. military and other U.S. government agencies to count members of the military, civilian employees, and their dependents living abroad.

Parents and guardians should count children at the address where they live and sleep most of the time. If a child spends an equal amount of time in two or more homes, count the child where they were staying on April 1, 2020.

Yes. All children, including babies, should be counted at their usual residence, even if their parent does not live and sleep at the same address. The usual residence is where the child lives and sleeps most of the time. If you are not sure, count them at the address of the place where the child was staying on April 1, 2020.

Yes, foster children should be counted at their usual residence, where they live and sleep most of the time. If you are not sure, count them at the address of the place where the child was staying on April 1, 2020.

Yes, the children of roommates, housemates, roomers, and tenants should be counted at their usual residence. This means where the children live and sleep most of the time. If you are not sure, count them at the address of the place where they were staying on April 1, 2020.

If the address is a business, and no one lives or stays there, respond online to answer a few questions about the address.

First, enter the Census ID that appears on the 2020 Census letter, postcard, or questionnaire for that address. Then, answer the questions about whether anyone will be living at the address on April 1, 2020. A census taker may visit to verify that no one is living or staying there. 

If you know that no one will be living or staying at this address on April 1, 2020, go to the online questionnaire to answer a few questions about the home at the address.

First, enter the Census ID that appears on the 2020 Census letter, postcard, or questionnaire for that address. You will be asked you to verify the address and answer whether anyone will be living or staying there on April 1, 2020. A census taker may visit to verify that no one is living or staying there. 

If the Census Bureau cannot contact someone about an address, we may ask their neighbors for assistance. During each census, some homes that appear vacant actually have people living there. Verifying whether a home is vacant helps us count everyone.

If the boarder or renter lives with you and the other members of your home, you should include them on your questionnaire. If the rented portion of your home has a separate address, the boarder or renter should complete their own questionnaire.

Everyone living at an address should be included in one response. This can be completed by one person or together as a group.

You may help if asked, or if you are a legal guardian or executor. If this is the case, and you are knowledgeable about the address, please complete the questionnaire for that home.

Keep in mind that you are not responding for yourself on that home's questionnaire. Answer the questions the way the person living at that address would.

You should not respond if you are living in another country on April 1, 2020 (Census Day). The 2020 Census counts everyone who is living in the United States on April 1, 2020.

The Census Bureau works with the U.S. military and other U.S. government agencies to count members of the military, civilian employees, and their dependents living abroad. 

If you live in a group living facility (such as a college dorm, military barracks, or skilled nursing facility), the Census Bureau has special processes in place to collect your responses to the 2020 Census. Please do not complete the paper questionnaire that was mailed to you.

This depends on the type of unit you are living in. Each independent living or assisted living unit is treated as a separate home and has the option to respond online, by phone, or by mail. People living in skilled-nursing or hospice units will be counted as part of the Group Quarters Operation. If you are not sure whether you will be counted as part of the Group Quarters Operation, check with the person who collects your rent. 

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