2020 Census

the city of orono and the 2020 census

The U.S. Census counts every resident in the United States. As mandated by the U.S. Constitution, America gets just one chance each decade to count its population. The results of the census determine the number of seats for each state in the U.S. House of Representatives and are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts. Federal agencies use the results to distribute more than $675 billion in federal funds each year.


Census data determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as districts for state government.

Census data guides federal spending allocation of approximately $589 billion to local communities every year.

Census data helps plan roads, schools, hospitals, senior centers, and emergency services to best serve changing populations.

Census data assists businesses in locating factories & stores, recruiting employees, and conducting market research.

how the 2020 census will invite everyone to respond

Every household will have the option to respond by responding online, by mail, or by phone.  Nearly every household will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census from either a postal worker or a census worker.  

Download or Print this Fact Sheet for more Census invitation information.

2020 Census – How to Respond

In Mid-March, homes across the country began receiving invitations to complete the 2020 Census.  Once the invitation arrives, you should respond for your home in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail.

Respond Online with Ease:

To start the Questionnaire online visit: https://my2020census.gov/

  • It’s quick and easy. The 2020 Census questionnaire will take about 10 minutes to complete.
  • It’s safe, secure, and confidential. Your information and privacy are protected.
  • Your response helps to direct billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities for schools, roads, and other public services.
  • Results from the 2020 Census will be used to determine the number of seats each state has in Congress and your political representation at all levels of government.

Note: We have special procedures to count people who don’t live in households, such as students living in university housing or people experiencing homelessness.

What to Expect in the Mail

When it’s time to respond, most households will receive an invitation in the mail. Every household will have the option of responding online, by mail, or by phone. Depending on how likely your area is to respond online, you’ll receive either an invitation encouraging you to respond online or an invitation along with a paper questionnaire.

 Letter Invitation

  • Most areas of the country are likely to respond online, so most households will receive a letter asking you to go online to complete the census questionnaire.
  • We plan on working with the U.S. Postal Service to stagger the delivery of these invitations over several days. This way we can spread out the number of users responding online, and we’ll be able to serve you better if you need help over the phone.

Letter Invitation and Paper Questionnaire

  • Areas that are less likely to respond online will receive a paper questionnaire along with their invitation. The invitation will also include information about how to respond online or by phone.

What has been sent in the mail?

On or between / You’ll receive:

•             March 12–20 An invitation to respond online to the 2020 Census.(Some households will also receive paper questionnaires.)

•             March 16–24 A reminder letter.

If you haven’t responded yet:

•             March 26–April 3 A reminder postcard.

•             April 8–16 A reminder letter and paper questionnaire.

•             April 20–27 A final reminder postcard before we follow up in person.

We understand you might miss our initial letter in the mail.

Every household that hasn’t already responded will receive reminders and will eventually receive a paper questionnaire.

It doesn’t matter which initial invitation you get or how you get it—we will follow up in person with all households that don’t respond.