The U.S. Census 2020
Is it too late to fill out the U.S. Census 2020? No. In fact, we wish you would!
On April 1st, you may have seen Facebook Posts or article headlines about the U.S. Census. The reason for this was that April 1st was technically an important date for US residents to fill out the 2020 census questionnaire.
By filling out the questionnaire, you give a tally of how many people live in your household to the US government. In addition, the US government gets data on what the US populace looks like (race, age, etc). Regularly implemented censuses are a mandatory part of the government thanks to the US Constitution’s Article 1, Section 2. The data collected from the census helps determine federal funding, the necessary number of representatives seats per state in the House of Representatives, the drawing of congressional and state legislative districts, and more.
Why Should We Care?
On top of this, it’s especially important that LGBTQ people fill out the census. While census officials under the Trump Administration chose not to include questions about people’s sexual orientation or gender identity on this year’s census, it’s still important that LGBTQ people fill out the questionnaire. The census helps LGBTQ people access billions of federal funds for social programs and helps to build political power. As such, the South Florida Gay News reports that the Task Force, a D.C.-based National LGBTQ organization, created several events to inspire LGBTQ people to fill out the census questionnaire.
“Starting today, the National LGBT Task Force will host a series of educational webinars, host office hours online where people can find answers to their questions, and work with volunteers to make thousands of phone calls to LGBT people to make sure they know how to fill out the Census,” the group said in a March 27 statement.
“While the Census doesn’t ask questions about sexual orientation or gender identity, it’s still vital for us to be counted,” Meghan Maury, the Task Force’s policy director, said in the Task Force statement. “Like other marginalized communities, LGBTQ people have historically been undercounted on the Census,” Maury said. “The ‘Queer the Census’ campaign is working to change that, so that our community can access the things it needs most — dollars, democracy and justice.”
The Human Rights Campaign then came forward to affirm the Task Force in its endeavors around LGBTQ people and the census.
“It’s vitally important for all of us to be counted in the Census,” said HRC spokesperson Nick Morrow. “Critical funding for programs that support our communities, and LGBTQ people specifically, are determined by the Census.”
But was April 1 the deadline? Technically, no. According to the website, only 41.3% of the estimated U.S. residents pool responded to the census questionnaire by April 1. While the April 1 date is considered Census Day, U.S. residents can fill out the questionnaire until anywhere between May 27 and August 14. Even then, information can still be provided. It’s just that census workers will start conducting home interviews around that time. So if you don’t want to be forced into an in-person census talk, it’d be better to fill the information out now.
But how do you do it? You can fill out the short questionnaire online, by phone or through the mail. In order to start though, you need to have your census ID which was given through a mailed document in March. If you don’t have the census document, the bureau can help you recover your census ID here. If you do have that document, you can fill out your response and mail it back to the bureau. Or, you can call (844) 330-2020 to speak to a census worker and answer the questions directly.
Again, not answering the census may lead to government workers showing up at your door. Plus, filling out the census can help people in your community have access to federal funding and government support. Despite losing recognition under the Trump administration, we can still voice our existence in this government. This is the first step in doing so.