In March, homes across the country will begin receiving invitations to complete the 2020 United States census. You must complete the census because it will affect your life for the next decade.
By Census Day on April 1, you will have received your invitation to respond to the 2020 census. Fortunately for you, there are three different ways to complete the 2020 census: online, by phone or by mail.
Why Is the Census Important?
Every 10 years, everyone living in the U.S. on April 1 gets counted in the census. The results of the census affect your voice in government, funding your community receives and how your community plans for the future.
When you complete the census, you ensure the more than $675 billion in federal funds is used to fund your education, health care and more. The census also determines how many seats Texas gets in Congress every decade. In the end, it all helps create jobs, provide housing, prepare for emergencies and build schools, hospitals and roads.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you don’t complete the census, it can cost Texas thousands of dollars. On average, Texas will lose $11,610 per decade per unaccounted person. In a broader sense, an undercount of just 1% could cost Texas $300 million annually and $3 billion over the next 10 years.
As a student, not completing the census could potentially hit you hard. By not participating, you can cost your community funding in areas like:
- Federal student loans
- Schools/campus funding
- After-school programs
- Public transportation
- School lunch programs
If you don’t complete the census, it may become more difficult for you to qualify for federal student loans. Your free DART rides may eventually go away. Perhaps you’re a parent who relies on after-school programs for your kids. Those programs rely on funding, and it’s your responsibility to tell the government, through the census, how important that funding is.
Since you’re a college student, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when you’re completing the census:
- If you live away from your parents, you are responsible for completing the census for everyone living with you in your off-campus college apartment or house.
- If you don’t live in a dorm, count yourself at your off-campus address, even if you go to your parents’ home for the breaks. That includes international students.
Historically, the communities hardest to count are apartment renters, immigrants, children up to 5 years old and young adults between the ages of 18 and 24. Help make history by making sure your family is counted.
Is Your Information Safe?
The U.S. Census Bureau is bound by law to protect the privacy and confidentiality of everyone who responds to the census. So, the personal information you provide cannot be used against you in any way, and it can’t be accessed by the police department, DHS, ICE, FBI or CIA.
It is against the law for the Census Bureau to disclose or publish any identifiable information about you or your household.
If you complete the census online, the Census Bureau also encrypts all responses submitted.