What Is The Census?

Every 10 years the U.S. Constitution requires a headcount of every person living in the United States, regardless of age, immigration status, or type of residency. The census population count determines political and legislative representation and how federal funding is distributed to states and cities.

What You And Your Employees Need To Know About The 2020 Census

Starting in mid-March, every resident in the U.S. will receive a letter to complete the census, addressed to the current resident. Depending on location, some residents will receive instructions to complete the census online and others will receive a paper form to complete. The U.S. Census Bureau will follow up either in person or by mail if the form is not received by May.

Online: Anyone can complete their census online.

In-Person: You can also fill out the census at public internet sites in public libraries, community centers, and other agencies. Visit detroitmi.gov/census to learn more.

By Mail: If you have a paper form you should complete and return the census as soon as possible.

Critical Information To Know

  • Your census information is confidential and protected by law. Your answers will not and cannot be shared with:
    • Immigration enforcement
    • Law enforcement
    • Any state agency, including the Department of Motor Vehicles
    • Any court
    • Any taxing authority, including the IRS
    • Your landlord
    • Your employer
    • Your insurance companies
    • Or any other office, department, etc.
  • The census is only 9 questions and will take less than 10 minutes.
  • Census forms without all questions completed are still counted.
  • Count everyone in your household. If they sleep there on April 1, 2020, count them.
  • If you live somewhere different than where you vote or where your car is registered, use the address of where you live and sleep regularly for the census.
  • The census happens every 10 years and your response will impact federal support for Michigan for the next decade.
  • Detroit and Michigan were among the most under-counted areas in 2010.
  • Filling out the census is required by the constitution.

The 2020 Census is the Single Largest Governmental Undertaking in the Nation

Although responsibility lies with the federal government, state legislatures also support this important work. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2019-15 on June 11, 2019, to create the statewide complete count committee in Michigan. In addition, the City of Detroit and surrounding County governments have vested efforts to ensure a complete count with the Detroit regions hard to count populations.

Research & Data

Learn about the region’s economics, workforce and talent, industry clusters and more.

For additional information, contact the Data and Research team.

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