The 2020 Census is open for self-response online at, over the phone (844-330-2020 for English)  and by paper through the mail.

Downloadable materials:

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What is the 2020 Census?

The 2020 Census counts every person living in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories.  The United States has counted its population every 10 years since the first census in 1790.

The 2020 Census is the first year you can fill out your census online. The census website is safe, secure and confidential.

Why is this count conducted?

The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and your community.

The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.

It’s also in the Constitution: Article 1, Section 2, mandates that the country conduct a count of its population once every 10 years. The 2020 Census will mark the 24th time that the country has counted its population since 1790.

Based on the George Washington University report Counting for Dollars 2020:

Walker County receives roughly $2,300 per person annually in funding directly related to Census-count allocations. During the last Census in 2010, 76% of Walker County residents participated in the self reporting phase. The low participation rate potentially led to an undercount, costing our community millions of dollars in funds, which are distributed locally through 316 federal programs.

Who cares if I’m counted or not…

The impact of an undercount can last a decade, as population estimates and projections are based on Census counts. Between 2010 and 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates the population of Walker County grew by only 654 people, from 68,756 to 69,410. The population estimate doesn’t correspond with many base level statistics. For instance, 848 new single family homes were constructed in the unincorporated area of Walker County alone during that same time period.

An undercount also impacts economic development and representation. Census numbers are used by businesses to decide where to build stores, offices and factories, which create jobs. Real estate developers use the data to determine where to build new homes. The results are also used to reapportion the House of Representatives and redraw congressional and state legislative districts to reflect changes in population.

What does that mean for me?

The federal government distributes over $675 billion dollars to states based on the population for healthcare, food, education, and roads. Key programs using census data to drive funding are:

  • Federal Medical Assistance Programs (FMAP)
  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP and WIC)
  • School Meal Programs (Breakfast & Lunch)
  • Head Start
  • Special Education
  • Medicare Part B
  • Highway Planning and Construction
  • Transit
  • The Federal Pell Grant Program
  • Housing and Energy Assistance

Georgia’s rural assistance programs received more than $1.4 billion annually in the federal FY 2016.

What does this mean for you and your family?

Participating in the census is required by law, even if you recently completed another survey from the Census Bureau. A complete and accurate count is critical for you and your community, because the results of the 2020 Census will affect community funding, congressional representation, and more.

Census data helps with the allocation of federal funding across 361 programs, including the National School Lunch Program, federal student loan programs, and many more.

The more people counted, the more money each community stands to receive.

How can you respond?

There are three ways to respond to the 2020 Census.

By April 1, 2020, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. You will have three options for responding:

  • Online
  • By phone
  • By mail

The 2020 Census marks the first time you’ll have the option to respond online. You can also respond using a mobile device. If you do not have access to a computer or internet, please visit your local library.

Who Counts?

If you are filling out the census for your home, you should count everyone who is living there as of April 1, 2020. This includes anyone who is living and sleeping there most of the time, including children. For example, if your brother has been sleeping at your house for the past couple of month, he should be counted as part of your household.

Counting Children

It is important to remember to count any children who are living with you. This includes:

  • All children who live in your home, including grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and the children of friends.
  • Children who split their time between homes, if they are living with you on April 1, 2020.
  • Newborn babies, even those who are born on April 1, 2020, or who are still in the hospital on this date.

Counting College Students

It is important to remember how to count college students based on where they are living. This includes:

  • College students who are living at home should be counted at their home address.
  • College students who live away from home should count themselves at their on- or off- campus residence where they live most of the time.
  • U.S. college students living and attending college outside of the U.S. are not counted in the Census.
  • Foreign students living and attending college in the U.S. should be counted at their on- or off- campus residence where they live most of the time

Is my information safe?

All Census responses are kept confidential for 72 years. There are no exceptions. U.S. law strictly prohibits the Census Bureau from sharing personal information with anyone – including law enforcement, courts or any other government agency. All Census Bureau staff also take a lifetime oath to protect your personal information. Violating that oath results in a penalty of up to five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. After 72 years, the records are released to the public by the National Archives and Records Administration for genealogy research.