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What is the Census and why is it important?
The Census Bureau is the federal government's largest statistical agency dedicated to providing current facts and figures about America's people, places and economy.  The results of the census determines the number of seats for each state in the U.S. House of Representatives; are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts; and are used to distribute more than $675 billion in federal funds each year, of which California receives over $76 billion annually.  Funding is directly distributed based on the Census data, which roughly equates to approximately $2,000 per resident.

 Federal programs that allocate funds to California using Census data include:  Section 8 Projects, Head Start, Foster Care, School Lunch, Highways, Medicare Part B, Women Infants and Children (WIC), Health Care Programs, Medi-Cal, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and more.

When is Census 2020?
The official Census Day is April 1, 2020.  In March 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau will begin to mail letters to every household with information on how to complete the Census.  In May 2020, U.S. Census field staff (called enumerators) will visit households who have not completed the Census.

Why is it important?
Our state receives funding based on how many people live in California.  About $76 billion dollars.  That money is then divided between counties, programs and projects.  Each person not counted equals a loss of nearly $2,000 in funding per year.  Alameda County receives 60% of its money from Federal and State resources.

That means, if our county under-counts by 3%, we could lose $1 billion over the next ten years.

The loss of that money would impact these programs:

  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Child Care
  • Health Center Programs
  • Section 8 Projects
  • Head Start
  • Women, Infants, and Children Food and Nutrition Service (WIC)
  • Special Education
  • Foster Care
  • School Lunch
  • Title 1 funds to schools with low-income students
  • State Children's Health Insurance Program
  • Highway repairs
  • Medicare Part B
  • Medi-Cal
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Census 2020 - What to Expect
The response process for the 2020 Census will be a little different than it was during the 2010 Census.  Every household will have the option of responding by mail or by phone, as in previous years, but households will also be able to respond online!

In March 2020, almost all households will receive their census invitation in the mail: 

  • 95% of households will receive their census invitation in the mail, which will provide information on how to respond.
  • About 5% of households will receive their invitation when a census taker drops it off.  This may be because the homes have PO boxes or were recently affected by natural disasters and do not receive mail at their homes.
  • Less than 1% of households will be counted by a census taker instead of responding on their own.

Census ClipArt
Learn more at:

Census 2020 Alameda County

2020 Census Public Service Announcement - Census Made Simple - in English

2020 Census Public Service Announcement - They Also Count - in Spanish