The 2020 US Census is coming up -- Here’s what you need to know

Population count determines money distribution

Census Day is April 1, 2020.
Census Day is April 1, 2020.

DETROIT – Census Day is April 1, 2020.

Participating in the United States Census is not only mandatory, it’s important.

The first Census dates way back to 1790, when U.S. Marshals traveled on horseback from farms and villages to collect data. This year, citizens will have three ways to participate in the Census -- online, by phone or by mail.

If someone does not respond, a Census taker will come to your home.

The Census is used to help determine how more than $1.5 trillion in federal funding will go to state and local governments. This decision is largely based on the population, and places with more people tend to get more money.

The results of the Census also determines state’s representation in the House of Representatives. Michigan currently has 14 seats in the house.

Click here for a timeline of the 2020 Census.

2020 Census: Here’s what Detroiters need to know

Every 10 years, every person living in the U.S. is counted without regard to where they live, immigration status, income, age, etc.

Everyone living in a household, apartment building, group home, prison, college dorm or outdoors as of April 1, 2020 must be counted.

Children living in foster care or with grandparents are counted where they live as of April 1.

The U.S. Census Count begins March 2020 ends July 2020.

Why the Census matters

The Census determines how billions of dollars in federal money gets distributed -- money for programs like: Medicare, special education, free school lunches, Bridge Cards and WIC, road construction, and more all depend on the census population count.

The Census count also determines the number of representatives in Congress, the state legislature and Electoral College votes.

The Census form is an official record of the US and it becomes part of the history of the City of Detroit, State of Michigan and the US.

About the Census form

Census forms can be filled out online, or by phone and paper forms will be sent out if you haven’t responded by May 1, 2020. The form has less than 10 questions, takes 10 minutes and the information lasts 10 years.

Questions include: number of people living at an address, age, gender, race, ethnicity, marital status.

Personal information on the census form is sealed for 72 years, and cannot be shared with ANYONE. If a question is missed or not answered, the form can still be submitted and will be valid.

City will have 120 census assistance centers where residents will be able to fill out their form online.

How to help get Detroit counted

Go to to find out how to be involved in the Be Counted Detroit 2020 Census Campaign—volunteer to be a census ambassador, a social media influencer or host an event.

This map shows how you can fill out the Census form depending on where you live in Detroit:

About the Authors:

You can watch Steve weekends as anchor of Local 4 News at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. and reporting throughout the week. Steve is a veteran journalist who has worked at Local 4 since 1995.