The 2020 census is here

  • Published: Friday, March 13, 2020

Update: Missouri Census 2020 needs you to count yourself NOW, July 2, 2020.

It has never been easier to respond to the U.S. census! Everyone can respond -- whether online, over the phone or by mail — all without having to meet a census taker.

Why should I respond? The 2020 census is your chance to make sure the hard-earned tax dollars you send to Washington, D.C., make their way back to Missouri and to our communities. Census statistics help determine the number of seats each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives and how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funds are allocated to state and local communities for the next 10 years. For every adult and every child not counted in the census, Missouri loses approximately $1,300 in federal dollars every year. When every resident is counted, we get more money for roads and bridges, hospitals and schools.

Missouri Census 2020When do I respond? During March, households will begin receiving invitations through the U.S. Postal Service to participate in the 2020 census. This invitation will include instructions on how to respond online or by phone. You can respond right away! Reminder mailings will be sent to households that do not respond; the fourth mailing to households that have not yet responded will include a paper questionnaire. You may respond online or by phone from mid-March through July 31.

What if I don’t receive mail at my physical address? If you use a residential P.O. box and do not receive mail at your home address, you will not receive a mailing of any kind from the U.S. Census Bureau. Please go online or call the toll-free census assistance hotline (see How do I respond? below). It is very important that you respond.

Who should respond? Everyone should respond. Count everyone who is living with you as of April 1, 2020, including those who would typically be at your address on April 1, 2020, were it not for current disruptions due to the coronavirus (for example, an MU student who has gone back to a family home in St. Louis during this period of remote learning should still be counted as living in Columbia). This includes roommates, young children, newborns, anyone renting space in your household, and any friends or family members who are living and sleeping there most of the time, even if they are not related to you. If someone is staying in your home on April 1 and has no usual home elsewhere, you should count them in your response to the 2020 census. These people are often missed in the census. This means they can miss out on resources for themselves and their communities over the next 10 years.

How do I respond? You may respond to the census survey online at You may also respond to the census by calling 844-330-2020. If you receive a paper form delivered to your address, you can complete it and mail it back.

What if I don't have internet access? You can respond to the census by calling 844-330-2020 or by visiting community partner sites such as public libraries, area action agencies and University of Missouri Extension centers. These entities may have computers set aside for you to respond to the census.

Is there specific information needed to respond? When households receive invitations to respond to the census, a 2020 census ID will be provided. If your household does not receive an ID number, you can and should still respond by providing your address when you are completing your questionnaire. For the questionnaire, you will need to know the birthdate of everyone living in your household. The U.S. Census Bureau will never ask for your full Social Security number, bank account or credit card numbers, money or donations, or anything on behalf of a political party.

Is the information I report safe? The Census Bureau states it is “legally bound to keep your information confidential, and cannot release any identifiable information about you, your home, or your business, even to law enforcement agencies.” The law guarantees protection for your information, which is kept anonymous and used only to produce statistics. Your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court.

For more information, contact your local MU Extension center or visit

You can also call the U.S. Census Bureau toll-free at 800-923-8282 with questions.

Writer: Pamela Duitsman

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