Census FAQ

Every 10 years the US Constitution requires a head count of every person living in the United States, regardless of age, immigration status, or type of residency. The census population count determines political and legislative representation and how federal funding is distributed to states and cities.

The 2020 Census form will have a short set of 10 questions about the number of people living in your household, their ages, race, ethnicity, marital status and housing type. For the first time, same sex couples will have the opportunity to identify themselves as such.

The Census Bureau will send a notice to all addresses in the US beginning in March 2020. Only one person per household needs to physically fill out the census but they need to count EVERYONE in the household. So, if 6 people live at the house as of April 1, 2020, then the person filling out the form counts all 6 people. The Census can be completed online, by phone or using a paper form. If you don’t have access to a computer the city will provide information on locations where residents can fill out the form.

The census count determines how much federal funding Detroit receives for health care, education and food, programs that Detroit seniors and families rely on to survive. Counting more people means more funding:

  • Detroit Public Schools received $104 billion in 2018 for Title 1 education grants for tutoring, textbooks and other programs.
  • 240,000 Detroiters qualify for Bridge cards based on funding determined by the City’s census count.
  • Detroit hospitals and clinics received nearly $3 billion in Medicaid funding in 2017 to treat Detroit residents—funding based on the census count.

By law, your information is CONFIDENTIAL. The Census Bureau collects data for statistical purposes only and cannot share or publish any household specific census data including: name, address, Social Security number or phone number. The Census Bureau will not identify your household, any person in your household, or business.

The Census Bureau will never ask for:

  • Full social security number, bank or credit card account numbers
  • Money or donations or anything related to a political party
  • Census workers will have a photo ID Badge with the Department of Commerce watermark and expiration date and a laptop or bag with a Census Bureau logo.

People living in apartments, homes, prisons, college dorms or in shelters or living outdoors are all counted where they are staying on April 1, 2020. Children living in foster care or with grandparents are counted where they live and sleep most of the time as of April 1.

People who have no residence, or live at two or more residences during year, or are traveling for a long period of time, are all counted at the residence where they live and sleep most of the time.

NO! According to the U.S. Constitution, the Census counts every person living in the U.S. as of April 1, 2020, including non-citizens, legal residents, temporary or seasonal workers.

Go to detroitmi.gov/census to find out how to be involved in the City’s campaign as a census captain, canvasser, social media influencer or other ways.

Go to 2020census.gov/jobs to apply for one of many positions the US Census Bureau has for census takers, office clerks, and supervisory staff in Detroit. Pay rates for census takers are $15-$19/hour.