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Eight Things College Students Need to Know About the 2020 Census

by Tracey A. Maine on January 21, 2020

This spring, the U.S. Census will hold their decennial count of people who live in the country and five U.S. territories.

How long has the census taken place?

The first official census of the United States took place in 1790 and has occurred every ten years since. According to the Census Bureau's website, the first census asked six questions and reported a total U.S. population of 3,929,214. 

Is participating in the census mandatory?

Closeup of form being filled

Title 13 of the U.S. Code says participation in the census is mandatory, however, it also protects individuals and businesses. This means that any information collected through the census or by census employees is considered private information and is never published, or used by any government agency or court.

What happens if I don’t participate in the census?

Anyone who doesn’t want to take part in the 2020 Census could receive:

  • Up to five mailings from the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Up to six visits to your home from a U.S. Census Bureau employee.
  • A potential fine.

How much can I be fined for not participating in the 2020 Census?

According to Title 13, a complete refusal to answer the questions on the 2020 Census can result in up to a $100 fine. Participants who give false answers to a census employee can be fined up to $500, and if you provide information with the "intent or purpose" of causing an inaccurate count in your area you can be fined up to $1,000 or imprisoned for up to one year, or both.

How is the census conducted?

In mid-March, households will start to receive official notifications from the Census Bureau with detailed instructions on how to respond to the 2020 Census.

By April 1, 2020, everyone will receive a notice advising them how to participate in the 2020 Census by choosing one of the following manners:

  • Online.
  • By phone.
  • By mail.

The person filling out the form (Person 1) will need to provide the following information:

  • Whether they own or rent the home they reside in.
  • How many people live with them.

Next, Person 1, and anyone who lives with them, will need to provide the following information:

  • Relationship to Person 1.
  • Date of Birth.
  • Hispanic origin.

How should students respond to the census?

College students living in on-campus housing on April 1 should use their dorm as their primary address. 

College students living away from their families, but not in school-owned housing, should use the address where they are living on April 1 as their primary address.

How does the 2020 Census benefit college students?

College students who take part in the 2020 Census increase their states chances of receiving:

  • Federal student loans.The Tower of reams of dollars aspirations in heaven. The symbol of financial success
  • Federal research grants.
  • Funds for college services.
  • Funds that improve college campuses.

Students also have the opportunity to take a temporary census position to make money during the school year. Those working in Athens County have the chance to make up to $16/hr. However, pay will vary based on location. To see a list of local pay rates in Ohio, click here.

How is the collected information used?

Data collected by the 2020 Census will help decide:

  • The United States Capitol and reflecting pool in Washington, DC.How seats in the U.S. House of Representatives will be re-appropriated among the 50 states.
  • Reshaping of congressional, state and local district boundaries.
  • Determine each state’s need for new roads, hospitals and schools.
  • Help evaluate the changing needs of businesses.
  • How more than $675 billion in federal funds should be distributed to states and local communities for health, education, housing, and infrastructure programs.

For more information on the 2020 Census visit https://www.2020census.gov.

CTA 2020 Census Blog