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You may not have noticed amid the coronavirus pandemic, but the 2020 U.S. Census has begun, with letters arriving soon at all households in America.

March 12 was the first day to be counted. The official tally of all people living in a household on April 1, 2020, is due by June 30.

Americans can respond to the census by mail, online or by phone in a variety of languages. The English and Spanish numbers are 844-330-2020 and 844-468-2020.

Federal and state officials stress that answering the census is easy and completely private, noting that:

  • The census is a simple, confidential nine-question survey
  • Questions include name, address, sex, race, ethnicity, age, and whether you own or rent the home
  • You should count everyone in your home, including any friends or family members who are living and sleeping there most of the time
  • The Census Bureau will never ask about your citizenship status, or for sensitive information like your Social Security number or bank accounts

Mandated by the Constitution to take place every 10 years, the census determines how many representatives each state will have in Congress, and how billions of dollars of federal funding are distributed.

Political leaders in California are concerned that the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant rhetoric could depress the count, hurting the state’s Congressional representation.

“We understand some people are concerned about the confidentiality of their information and they can be assured that no one can lawfully share any personal identifying information from census responses,” said John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice. “More importantly, the Census Bureau and its employees are not allowed to share personal census responses with any other government agency, government official, or outside entity for any reason.”

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.