Census 2020 is Here

Published: 5/22/2020








What is the Census

The 2020 Census is a count of every person living in the United States and its territories. Through a national survey, census bureau collects critical data that affects your representation in government, determines how much funding your community receives, and provides data to help you plan for the future.

As a Census 2020 partner, the City of Riverside is committed to providing you with the latest information available. Public services or programs are funded based on population-data derived from Census counts. Ensuring every group in Riverside is properly counted in the 2020 Census means ensuring that these programs and services are set up to properly serve our community.




Frequently Asked Questions

The Census is a survey taken every ten years with the intention of counting every person living in the United States. It is mandated by the Constitution and designed to count every person once, and only once, in the right place.
The Census has been taking place every ten years since 1790. The next census will be in 2020. Self-response will begin online on March 12, 2020 and stay open through April 30, 2020. Beginning in May, the Census Bureau will begin sending enumerators out door to door to count people who did not self-respond.
The Census is roughly 10 questions per household member. The survey asks for basic demographic data such as race, sex, and age in addition to a few other statistical questions like if the home is rented or owned..
The results of the Census are used for three main purposes: representation, federal funding, and data.


It is critically important to count every person in the United States so that the government can ensure all residents get proper representation. Census counts determine how many Congressmembers each state gets in the House of Representatives and congressional, state senate, and state assembly district lines are drawn based on the amount of people in any given area.

Federal Funding

Census data determines how more than $675 billion of the federal budget gets spent across the nation every year. In California specifically, a third of our state budget comes from the federal government to pay for programs like Medi-Cal, public education, housing infrastructure and housing assistance programs.


Most of the population-driven data and research we have about our country comes from the Census. It is critically important to have accurate data so that government, businesses, schools, nonprofit organizations, etc can properly analyze the landscape of our country.
In 2020, the Census will be available online for the first time in history! Households can fill it out on any phone, tablet, or computer with internet connection, by calling the Census Bureau and filling it out verbally, or by requesting a paper copy to send to the Census Bureau directly. In 2020, the Census will be available online for the first time in history! Households can fill it out on any phone, tablet, or computer with internet connection, by calling the Census Bureau and filling it out verbally, or by requesting a paper copy to send to the Census Bureau directly.
The City of Riverside in partnership with The CensusIE Coalition is committed to ensuring a complete and accurate count of San Bernardino and Riverside counties, but in order to achieve this we are prioritizing the hardest-to-count communities. Hard to count, or hard to reach, people are those who have a history of not participating in the Census. There are a great number of factors that could influence someone responding or not responding to the census, including but not limited to:
  • Communities of Color – Latinx, Black and African Americans, Native Americans and tribal communities, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and Middle Eastern and North Africans
  • Immigrants and Refugees
  • Farm-workers
  • People with Disabilities
  • LGBTQ identifying folks
  • Seniors/Older Adults
  • Children 0-5
  • Homeless individuals and families
  • Veterans
  • Areas with low/no broadband subscriptions
  • Households with limited English proficiency
It is required by federal law to respond to, complete, and truthfully answer the Census Questionnaire. People who do not self-respond by April 30th or submit an incomplete survey are subject to being visited by an enumerator.
Do you or your family members use or value any of the following programs or services?
  • Public schools
  • Public Transportation
  • Highway infrastructure
  • Medical programs like Medi-Cal or the Children’s Health Insurance Program
  • Unemployment Insurance and recruitment services
  • Affordable Housing Programs
  • Prison reentry programs
All of these services or programs are funded based on population-data derived from Census counts. Ensuring your household is properly counted in the 2020 Census means ensuring that these programs and services are set up to properly serve your community!
Yes! Title 13 of the United States Code requires the Census Bureau to keep your information confidential and use your responses only to produce statistics. The government cannot publicly release your responses in any way that could identify you. They also cannot share your information with immigration enforcement agencies such as ICE, law enforcement agencies such as the FBI or police, or allow it to be used to determine your eligibility for government benefits. Any violation of this law can result in imprisonment up to 5 years and/or a fine up to $250,000.
The 2020 Census questionnaire will NOT include a question about an individual’s citizenship status. Everyone, regardless of their immigration status, has certain basic right fa-lg oranges. For those who have concerns about opening your doors, there are other ways you can participate. You can participate online and over the phone, from the comfort of your home or a community run assistance center. Please complete your census questionnaire, your participation is vital, and your information is protected. An incomplete questionnaire may increase your chances of non-response follow-up by the United States Census Bureau.
Census Day is a nationally observed day to acknowledge census enumeration. Next year Census Day is April 1 2020; by this date all households should have been invited to self-respond.



How Do I Respond If...

The self-response period is open until April 30, 2020. If you have a child prior to April 30th include them in the count of your household. If your child is born after April 30th, do not include them as a member of your household.
The census questionnaire is designed to capture residents where they live at the time of submission. Even if your housing situation is temporary, you should fill out the census using the address you sleep at on that day. Additionally, it is important that your entire residence be included in this count; be sure to coordinate with your roommates/housemates so that everyone is marked down.
For students attending boarding school or commuting to college from home, you should be counted at your parent or guardian’s home address. For college students living on or near campus, you should be counted where you eat and sleep most of the time, even if you are home or on break on Census Day!

Foreign students attending school in the US should count themselves at their on or off-campus residence. On the flip side, American students studying internationally should not be counted as they are not currently living in the country.
You should fill out the census for wherever you and your household is living on that date. If you fill out the census while you are still in the process of transitioning homes, you should indicate yourself at your previous address. If your new home is in your name and your belongings and family are all transitioned you should indicate yourself at your new address – even if you are not fully set up yet.
The census questionnaire is designed to capture residents where they live at the time of submission. It is important that everyone at your address be counted where they are – however temporary, however crowded. Even if one family is upstairs and a different family is downstairs, or one family is in the main house and another is in the back house, everyone should be counted!

Please note that this information is used only for statistical and funding purposes. None of this information will be shared with landlords, law enforcement, immigration agencies, or the IRS.



2020 Census Self-Response by State



The Census is Critical For Riverside Businesses


The Inland Empire is home to over 4 million people and the City of Riverside is one of the fastest growing cities in Riverside County. So why should local businesses worry about the 2020 census? Simple: under-representation hurts the economy. It is estimated our region lost 1 billion dollars over the last ten years because of undercounting during the 2010 census. That’s 1 billion dollars lost in public and private investment vital to a competitive economy. This inequity meant less funding for public health, schools, small businesses, non-profits, transportation, and infrastructure. The undercounting also deprived our region of critical private investment opportunities as lenders, realtors, and businesses used less reliable data to make decisions about Inland Southern California.



Why is this important to my business?

  • Businesses use census data for targeting customers, opening and expanding their operations. Their customers and suppliers rely on census data as well.
  • Federal, state and local governments rely on the census to set strategies for economic growth and funding. Up to $1.5 trillion is dispersed to local and state jurisdictions based on census data.
  • Census population data guides government representation, determining the voice of the Inland Region in state policy that affects our economy.
  • In times of crisis, accurate census data helps emergency preparedness by determining proper allocation of critical supplies, deployment of first responders, high quality medical facilities, and a ready healthcare workforce.

The impact of the current census will be a major factor in defining the economy of the Inland Empire through 2030. All businesses have a key role to play by encouraging customers, employees and the general public to complete their census questionnaires. Your trusted voice can have a great impact.



6 Ways Your Business Can Support the Census

  • Educate your employees: host a workshop with your company’s leaders, employees, and influential partners to encourage participation
  • Share the message: use posters, fliers, social media, messages on receipts or shipping containers; post information, videos and a link to the official 2020 Census web page on your company website
  • Get creative: offer incentives for employees and promotions for customers that encourage participation while marketing your business
  • Share information: support your municipalities campaigns for participation Contribute: financially or by volunteering with local and state-based efforts
  • Join the National Business Network for an Accurate Census: it’s free, virtual and private
  • Become a U.S. Census Bureau Partner: The U.S. Census Bureau provides an array of free support and materials to help companies and business membership organizations encourage their employees, customers and the general public to complete their census questionnaires.

There is not a better time than now to come together and be counted. Without an accurate census, the Inland Empire could face 10 more years of inequity: stunting our potential with underfunding and under-representation. The collective strength of our workforce, businesses, entrepreneurs and our student population deserves an accurate census. For more ways your business can make a difference, check out the Council for a Strong America:Business Counts.



Everyone Counts

No matter where you’re from, your nationality, your immigration status, or who you live with, for the 2020 Census, everyone counts.



Adjustments Due to COVID-19


Census 2020 adjustments

The 2020 Census is underway - more than half the households across America have responded - and more are responding every day. Online, phone and mailed self-responses will continue throughout the data collection process. Responding now will minimize the need for the Census Bureau to send census takers out into communities to follow up.

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. Census Bureau has adjusted 2020 Census operations in order to:

  • Protect the health and safety of the American public and Census Bureau employees.
  • Implement guidance from Federal, State, and local authorities regarding COVID-19.
  • Ensure a complete and accurate count of all communities.

2020 Census Operational Adjustments Due to COVID-19