City of Springfield, Illinois

James O. Langfelder - Mayor

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   About Census 2020

This page has been created by the City of Springfield to help inform our community about the upcoming 2020 Census. If you have questions after reviewing our webpage, please contact our Office of Planning & Economic Development at 217.789.2377.

   What is the Census

A total population count of the United States is taken every 10 years – this is required by the U.S. Constitution. Federal funds, grants, and support to states, counties and communities are based on population totals in statistical breakdowns by sex, age, race and other factors. To see a timeline for the Census, click here.

By the last week in March, most addresses in the United States will receive a postcard with instructions to participate in the 2020 Census by filling out a questionnaire online, over the phone or by mail on April 1, 2020. To see a sample of the invitation, click here. To see a sample of the 10 Census Questions, click here.

Other key information:

  • April 1, 2020: Census Day is observed nationwide. This is the day designated for households to respond to the 10 questions asked by the Census, either online, over the phone or by mail.
  • April 2020: Census takers begin visiting college students who live on campus, people living in senior centers, and others who live among large groups of people. Census takers also begin conducting quality check interviews to help ensure an accurate count.
  • May 2020: The Census Bureau begins visiting homes that haven’t responded the 2020 Census to make sure everyone is counted.

   Census Timeline

COVID-19 Timeline Changes

The 2020 Census is underway and households across America are responding every day. 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 Census Bureau employees and the American public.
  • Implement guidance from federal, state, and local health authorities.
  • Ensure a complete and accurate count of all communities.

Click here to view a table that summarizes the adjustments to operations.

Should any additional adjustment become necessary, the Census Bureau will promptly publish the change in an updated document.

College Students

The Census Bureau is adjusting operations to make sure college students are counted. Please visit for more information on how college students should respond.

Ongoing Updates
To see the most recent Census press releases and events, go to

   Why the Census Matters

  • The Census helpsensure fair representation in government. Census numbers help determine congressional representatives each state will have for the next decade. Congressional districts and boundaries and redrawn based on population shifts.
  • Census data directly impacts the >funding our city receives for the next decade. Population counts and statistics from the census survey help determine annual allocation of $675 billion in federal dollars, grants and other financial assistance opportunities for our state, county, and city.
  • Local government and city planning is impacted by Census data. Real estate developers and city planners use census data to plan new homes and develop neighborhoods. This information is used for public safety and to plan new schools and hospitals.
  • The Census provides the most reliable data for public and private sector planning. This effects education planning; infrastructure and transportation planning, medical and research dollars. Businesses use data to decide where to build factories, offices, and stores – these create jobs.

Consequences of Undercounting

When households are undercounted, political boundaries may not accurately represent reality. Undercounting results in these households being denied a full voice in policy decision-making. As a result, their community’s different needs may not be represented or prioritized according to their real share of the population.

Undercounting households in the 2020 Census could also impact how federal funding is allocated to states and localities. Many programs that impact children, households and communities with low incomes are funded based in whole or in part on census-derived data.

To learn more about the impact the census has, click here.

   FAQs About the Census

  • You must be 18+ to fill out the census.

  • There are 10 questions on the census form.
  • The 2020 Census does NOT ask about citizenship.
  • Your personally identifiable information (PII) is protected by law and cannot be shared outside the Census Bureau. Only statistical information is utilized, not personal information.
  • By law, your census answers cannot be used against you by the FBI, CIA, DHS or ICE.
  • Census takers will not start making their door-to-door rounds or phone calls until the beginning of May. Each census taker will have an official I.D. badge from the U.S. Census Bureaus and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
  • NO financial information (SS# or bank account) is asked on the census form.
  • English language proficiency is not required to participate in the 2020 Census. The online census will be available in 12 languages. The paper form will be available in English and Spanish.

   Census Privacy and Security

Protected Information

The Census Bureau is bound by Title 13 of the U.S. Code to keep your information confidential. Under Title 13, the Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about you, your home, or your business, even to law enforcement agencies. The law ensures that your private data is protected and that your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court.

The answers you provide are used only to produce statistics. You are kept anonymous: The Census Bureau is not permitted to publicly release your responses in any way that could identify you or anyone else in your home.

Data Privacy

Being responsible stewards of your data is not only required by law, it is embedded in Census Bureau culture. Strict policies and statistical safeguards help protect the confidentiality of your information. Before releasing data products, the Census Bureau verifies that they meet its confidentiality standards.

Secure Technology

From the beginning of the data collection process, the Census Bureau follows industry best practices and federal requirements to protect your data.

The security of Census Bureau systems is a top priority, and their IT infrastructure is designed to defend against and contain cyberthreats. They continually refine their approach to identifying, preventing, detecting, and responding to these threats.

2020 Census PSA: Is My 2020 Census Data Safe?