Why the Census Matters
The U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 2) mandates a headcount every 10 years of everyone residing in the 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the Island Areas of the United States. This includes people of all ages, races, ethnic groups, citizens, and non-citizens. The first census was conducted in 1790 and one has been conducted every 10 years since then.
The population totals from the census determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives. States also use the totals to redraw their legislative and school districts. The next census occurs in 2020.
The U.S. Census Bureau must submit state population totals to the President of the United States by December 31, 2020. The population totals also affect funding in your community, and data collected in the census help decision makers know how your community is changing. Approximately $675 billion in federal funding is distributed to communities each year.
View “Counting for Dollars: The Role of the Decennial Census in the Geographic Distribution of Federal Funds” by the George Washington Institute of Public Policy— Oklahoma Funding Full Report.
- It's important. The 2020 Census counts are used for reapportionment, redistricting, distribution of federal funds. An accurate count is essential for our state.
- It's easy. You can complete the census online, using your smartphone, over the phone, or by filling out a paper form. It will ask for your name, address, sex, age, race, ethnicity, relationship and housing tenure.
- It's safe. The privacy of your responses is guaranteed by law. Census workers are sworn to secrecy and subject to a $250,000 fine and jail time. The Census Bureau cannot share your answers with the FBI, the CIA, welfare, immigration, or even the President.
- It's required. Responding to the Census is required by Title 13 of the United States Code, the same law that guarantees the privacy of your responses.