A Preview of the Questions You’ll Find on the 2020 U.S. Census

This preview includes a brief explanation of the question and the reason why the Census Bureau chose to ask it.

1. How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2020?

Here, you’ll count everyone living and sleeping in your home most of the time. Obviously, this will include young children and family. But it will also include roommates and friends who are living with you, even temporarily.

Why we ask this questionThis helps us count the entire U.S. population and ensures that we do so where they live most of the time as of Census Day (April 1, 2020).

2. Were there any additional people staying here on April 1, 2020, that you did not include in Question 1?

Mark all that apply: Children, related or unrelated, such as newborn babies, grandchildren, and foster children. You’ll also count relatives, such as adult children, cousins, or in-laws. Finally, you’ll count non-relatives, such as roommates or live-in babysitters, and people staying here temporarily.

Why we ask this questionThe goal of the 2020 Census is to count everyone just once and in the right place. We want to ensure that you count everyone in your home who you are supposed to count—including newborns, roommates, and those who may be staying with you temporarily.

3. Is this a house, apartment, or mobile home (mark ONE box) ...

...Owned by you or someone in this household with a mortgage or loan? Include home equity loans. Is it owned by you or someone in this household free and clear (without a mortgage or loan)? Rented? Occupied without payment of rent? See more about answering this question.

Why we ask this questionThis helps us produce statistics about homeownership and renting. The rates of homeownership serve as one indicator of the nation’s economy. They also help with administering housing programs, planning, and decision-making.

4. What is your telephone number?

Why we ask this questionThe Census Bureau asks for your phone number in case there are any questions about your census form. However, we will contact you concerning matters related only to the census, and only if needed.

5. What is Person 1’s name?

If someone is living here who pays the rent or owns the residence, start by listing him or her as Person 1. If the owner or the person who pays the rent does not live here, list any adult living there as Person 1. There will be opportunities to list the names of additional members of your household. See more about answering this question.

Why we ask this questionThe Census Bureau asks a series of questions about each member of your household. Doing so helps us to establish one central figure as a starting point.

6. What is Person #1’s sex?

Mark ONE box: male or female

Why we ask this questionThis allows us to create statistics about males and females, which officials can use in planning and funding government programs. They can also use this data to enforce laws, regulations, and policies against discrimination.

7. What is Person 1’s age, and what is Person 1’s date of birth?

This question refers to Person 1’s age as of April 1, 2020. For babies, less than one-year-old, do not write the age in months. Write 0 as the age.

Why we ask this question: The U.S. Census Bureau creates statistics better to understand the size and characteristics of different age groups. Furthermore, agencies use this data to plan and fund government programs that support specific age groups, including children and older adults. (Read more about Counting Young Children.)

8. Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?

NOTE: Please answer both Question 8 about Hispanic origin and Question 9 about race.  For this census, Hispanic origins are not races. Some may view Hispanic origin as the heritage, nationality, lineage, or country of birth of the person or the person’s parents or ancestors before arriving in the United States. People who identify as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish may be any race. See more about answering this question.

Why we ask this questionThese responses help create statistics about this ethnic group. Overall, these statistics help federal agencies monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions, such as those in the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.

9. What is Person 1’s race?

Mark one or more boxes AND print origins: White; Black or African American; American Indian or Alaska Native; Chinese; Filipino; Asian Indian; Vietnamese; Korean; Japanese; other Asian; Native Hawaiian; Samoan; Chamorro; other Pacific Islander; some other race. See more about answering this question.

Why we ask this question: This allows us to create statistics about race and to analyze other statistics within racial groups. These statistics further help federal agencies monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions, such as those in the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.

10. Print name of Person 2.

Here, you will list the next person in your household.

Why we ask this questionThe 2020 Census asks information about each member of your household. This question identifies the next person to refer to in the ensuing questions. This process repeats for each person in your home.

11. Does this person usually live or stay somewhere else?

Mark all that apply: Yes or no.  Accordingly, you’ll want to mark yes, if applicable, a military assignment, a job or business, a nursing home, a parent or other relative at a seasonal or second residence, in a jail or prison, or for another reason.

Why we ask this questionThis question helps ensure that the Census Bureau is counting everyone once, only once, and in the right place. If you have questions about whether or not to include someone, visit Who To Count.

12. How is this person related to Person 1?

Mark ONE box; opposite-sex husband/wife/spouse; opposite-sex unmarried partner; same-sex husband/wife/spouse; same-sex unmarried partner; biological son or daughter; adopted son or daughter; stepson or stepdaughter; brother or sister; father or mother; grandchild; parent-in-law; son-in-law or daughter-in-law; other relative; roommate or housemate; foster child; other non-relative. See more about answering this question.

Why we ask this question: This allows the Census Bureau to develop data about families, households, and other groups. Subsequently, relationship data may be pertinent in planning and funding government programs that support families, including people raising children alone.

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