What You Need to Know About the U.S. Census

What You Need to Know About the U.S. Census

The City of Hollywood is encouraging residents to participate in the U.S. Census, a nationwide effort to count every person who lives in the U.S. and its territories. It happens every ten years and is mandated by the U.S. Constitution.

More than $675 billion is distributed annually based on census counts. Census data informs local decisions about building community facilities, opening businesses and planning for future development and transportation infrastructure.

Data is used to redraw legislative districts and determine the number of seats Florida has in the U.S. House of Representatives. Florida has been undercounted substantially in the past two censuses with an estimated undercount of five to ten percent each decade. An undercount in the 2010 Census cost Broward County about $21.1 million per year, $211 million over the last decade. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 14,600 residents were not counted.

What Questions Will I Be Asked?

  • The names of everyone in the household
  • Your phone number
  • If you own or rent
  • The number of people living or staying
  • Sex
  • Age and date of birth
  • Hispanic, Latino or Spanish Origin
  • Race
  • Relationship of each person in the household

You Are Protected By Federal Law

Census data is protected by federal law. Answers can only be used to produce statistics. Data cannot be used by any government agency or court. It cannot be used by the FBI, CIA, DHS, ICE, not the president of the U.S. 

Responses remain confidential for 72 years. Census workers face fines and or imprisonment for disclosing any information that could identify an individual respondent or household.

Data for the 2020 census will be primarily collected online. Responses can also be provided using a toll-free number. Traditional questionnaires will also be available. Enumerators will visit households for those who have not responded by early April.


 The Census Bureau will use technology to make it easier than ever before to respond to the census. Nearly every household will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census with three options to respond – online, by phone, or by mail. Residents are required by law to participate in the 2020 Census.   

  • March 12-20: An invitation to respond online to the 2020 Census. Some households will also receive a paper questionnaire.
  • March 16-24: A reminder letter.
  • March 26 – April 3: If you have not responded, you will receive a reminder postcard.
  • April 8 – 16: If you still have not responded, you will receive a reminder letter and paper questionnaire.
  • April 20 – 27: If you still have not responded, you will receive a reminder postcard to do so.
  • After April 27: In-person follow-up. 

 The invitation to participate in 2020 Census will come from either a postal worker or a census worker with 95% of households receiving their census invitation by mail. 5% of households will receive their invitation when a census taker drops it off and less than 1% of households will be counted in-person by a census taker. 

Picture of Author: Amanda Jones
Author: Amanda Jones

Amanda Jones specializes in social media marketing. She holds a Master's degree in Social Media Management from the University of Florida and a Social Media Professional Certificate from the University of Miami.


Join our mailing list to receive the latest news directly in your email inbox.