The 2020 Census counts every person living in the United States and the five U.S. territories.

The count is mandated by the Constitution and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency. Each home will receive an invitation to respond to a short questionnaire—online, by phone, or by mail. The 2020 Census will be the first time that you will be able to respond to the census online.

Representative Democracy

Census data are used for apportionment of Congressional seats, and redistricting at all levels of government.

Protection of Civil Rights

Census data is indispensable for monitoring and enforcement of a broad range of civil rights policies.

Distribution of billions in federal funding

Census data guides the allocation of more than $800 billion in federal government resources to states, localities and families every year.

How the 2020 Census will invite everyone to respond

Every household will have the option of responding online, by mail, or by phone.

Nearly every household will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census from either a postal worker or a census worker.

What to Expect in the Mail

When it’s time to respond, most households will receive an invitation in the mail.

Every household will have the option of responding online, by mail, or by phone.

Depending on how likely your area is to respond online, you’ll receive either an invitation encouraging you to respond online or an invitation along with a paper questionnaire.

Letter Invitation

  • Most areas of the country are likely to respond online, so most households will receive a letter asking you to go online to complete the census questionnaire.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau plans on working with the U.S. Postal Service to stagger the delivery of invitations over several days. This will allow the number of users responding online to be spread out, and allow better service for those who need help over the phone.

Letter Invitation and Paper Questionnaire

  • Areas that are less likely to respond online will receive a paper questionnaire along with their invitation. The invitation will also include information about how to respond online or by phone.


On or between You’ll receive:
March 12–20 An invitation to respond online to the 2020 Census. (Some households will also receive paper questionnaires.)
March 16–24 A reminder letter
If you haven’t responded yet:
March 26–April 3 A reminder postcard.
April 8–16 A reminder letter and paper questionnaire.
April 20–27 A final reminder postcard before U.S. Census Bureau follow up in person.

We understand you might miss our initial letter in the mail to:

  • If you miss the initial letter in the mail
  • It doesn’t matter which initial invitation you receive or how you receive it – the U.S. Census Bureau will follow up in person with all households that do not respond.

2020 Census Questionnaire

Households will be able to respond to the 2020 Census online, over the phone, or through a paper questionnaire. This is a sample of the paper questionnaire that will be used during the 2020 Census. This version excludes some features that will be made available to households starting in March 2020, such as the URL for online response and the contact information for phone response.

2020 Census Informational Questionnaire