We’re Counting on You for the 2020 Census!

By: Katie Springer, Government Information Librarian and Coordinator, State Data Center Program, Indiana State Library 

This is the first week of the year. What does that mean? It’s time for the 2020 Census!

This week, in the far reaches of remote Alaska, the U.S. Census Bureau has started collecting the first data for the 2020 Census. Why is this important? This means that efforts are now underway to count every human being in the United States, at one time, in one place, as stated in the U.S. Constitution.

What is our role in the U.S. Census?

Census Day is celebrated every 10 years on April 1st. As residents of the U.S., we’re required to answer the 2020 Census as a member of our household based on where we live on this date. We count because our representation in Congress is determined based on where we live.

For the first time, we can answer the census online. It’s easysafe, and important. The 2020 Census will ask for name, sex, date of birth, and race and ethnicity. Answers are kept confidential according to federal law.

The Census Bureau will send out its first mailing in mid-March of this year inviting us to answer the census via desktop computer or smartphone. If we don’t fill it out during that first chance, the Census Bureau will send reminders until we complete it one of several ways: online, via mail (print form), or by phone.

Why is the census important to people with disabilities?

We count because our existence helps determine where billions of federal and state dollars are spent in our communities across the country, including funding for programs such as Education Grants to States for Students with Disabilities, Medicaid, and Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities. While the Census Bureau says Census 2020 will be accessible for everyone, there are still questions about accessibility. The National Disability Rights Network and the Center on Poverty and Inequality at Georgetown Law provides a fact sheet on Frequently Asked Questions by the Disability Community.

More questions?

Please contact Katie Springer at the Indiana State Library’s State Data Center at kspringer@library.in.gov for more information about the 2020 Census, or for information about applying to be a census worker.

About the author:
Katie Springer is a Government Information Librarian and the Coordinator of the State Data Center Program at the Indiana State Library and she has been the lead educator and expert on the US Census for Indiana libraries. She also serves on the Lt. Governor’s 2020 Census Committee. Contact Katie at kspringer@library.in.gov.