Take your census now!

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Census 2020 Outreach Toolkit

About the 2020 Census

Once each decade, the U.S. Census Bureau attempts to count every person in the United States. The next Census will take place in April 2020 and will be the first to rely heavily on online responses. The primary and perpetual challenge facing the U.S. Census Bureau is the undercount of certain population groups. That challenge is amplified in California, where more residents are considered traditionally hard to count. Those include foreign-born residents, renters, individuals living in homes without a broadband subscription, people living close to or below the poverty line, and children younger than five years old.

United Way of the Wine Country has joined the effort by partnering with the California Complete Count – Census 2020 initiative for Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Lake, Humboldt, Del Norte, and Trinity counties. UWWC will serve as the region’s Administrative Community Based Organization in coordination with each county’s Complete County Committee and local partner agencies and organizations. A complete count of our region’s population is essential as the data collected is used for the following:

  • To advocate more resources for community members
  • To ensure public safety and plan new schools and hospitals
  • To decide where to open companies and businesses, which create jobs
  • To distribute essential federal funds to our community
  • To determine the number of seats California has in the House of Representatives

United Way of the Wine Country is committed to a fair and accurate 2020 Census because if our community is not fully counted in the 2020 Census, we will miss out on investments and resources that we need and deserve. That’s why it’s important to ask for a Census in 2020 that recognizes our community voice and helps make health care, education, and political representation better. A good census is the first step in making sure our community has good jobs, roads, schools, and adequate resources now and in the future. Let’s work together to make our community – and every community – better.

For more information on Census 2020, please visit:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a census and why is it important?

  • Once each decade, the U.S. Census Bureau attempts to count every person in the United States. It counts our population and households, providing the basis for reallocating congressional seats, redistricting, and distributing more than $800 billion in federal funds annually to support states, counties and communities’ vital programs – impacting housing, education, transportation, employment, health care and public policy.
  • Based on the counts collected, the census:
    • Determines the number of representatives in Congress from each state, and allows for redistricting to secure meaningful representation
    • Provides for the distribution of federal funds to state, local and tribal governments for programs and services
    • Assists federal, tribal, state, local governments, non-profits organizations, businesses and others in planning for the future, implementing and maintaining programs and services

How will I get notified to complete the census?

  • The Bureau of the Census will send a post card to your residence with instructions on how to complete the census online – either on your computer or mobile device. The Bureau of Census does not send out Census forms to Post Office boxes. They send them to residences.

What if I only have a PO Box mailing address?

  • You can still go online or on your cell phone and complete the census form using your street address.

How do I complete the census?

  • Through the internet, beginning March 23, 2020
  • By telephone – calling a toll-free number (many language options will be available
  • Traditional mail-in paper form
  •  In-person interview

What questions are asked on the Census?

  • Name
  • Address
  • Gender – Male or Female
  • Age
  • Hispanic Origin – No or if Yes: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, etc.
  • Race – White, Black, Native American, Asian, etc. (more detailed than shown here)
  • Relationship – Opposite sex husband wife, Opposite sex unmarried partner, Same sex married, Same sex unmarried partner, Son, Daughter, Father, Mother, etc.
  • Number of People in Household
  • Tenure – Owner/renter
  • Phone number

What happens if I do not complete the census form online, by mail or phone?

  • Census workers will come to your home to ask you to complete the Census form. They may leave a questionnaire or interview you in person.

Is my information confidential?

  • Federal law protects your census responses. The Census Law, Title 13 of the U.S. Code, is straightforward and has strong protection. Title 13 requires that responses to Census Bureau surveys and censuses be kept confidential and used for statistical purposes only. The Census Bureau publishes only aggregated statistics that do not reveal information about particular individuals, households or businesses. All staff working with confidential information at the Census Bureau take a lifetime oath to protect the privacy and confidentiality of respondent information. Unlawful disclosure is a federal crime punishable by a $250,000 fine or five years in prison, or both.