It’s Census Time!

Each decade, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a census to get an accurate population of the United States! We need your help to get a complete count… all you have to do is take a few minutes to complete the Census survey.

Take the Census

Why Is It Important To Complete The Survey?

  • Provides Funding - Population numbers are tied to federal funding at the state and local levels to pay for new roads, schools, emergency services & more! Data from the 2010 Census helped to allocate more than $20 billion in funding to Arizona in Fiscal Year 2016 from 55 large federal spending programs. According to 2018 Census Population Estimates, Surprise is 138,161 residents strong, and we’re ranked 198th largest among incorporated places of 50,000 or more!
  • Strengthens our voice in Washington D.C. - Population growth determines how many representatives each state gets in Congress.
  • Helps in Redistricting - Used to draw new city district boundaries to ensure equal representation.
  • Assists in Planning Efforts – Helps us decide where to locate police and fire stations, parks and other public services. It can also assist businesses in choosing where they want to locate.

How to Participate

The U.S. Census Bureau has introduced new technology in 2020 to make it easier than ever to respond to the census. For the first time, you are able to respond online, by phone or by mail.

Because of these new options, what you receive from the U.S. Census Bureau in the mail will be different than years past. In March, you should have received a letter in the mail with a website address and Census ID number explaining how to respond online. The letter also has a toll free number for phone response and describe the process for receiving a paper survey.

Only households in select areas received a paper survey at the first mailing. These are areas that have limited Internet access or are viewed as less likely to respond online. Paper surveys come with a prepaid return envelope.

Here is a sample of the invitation letter:

Here are some frequently asked questions about the Census:

Here is a timeline of what you can expect from the U.S. Census Bureau:
Depending on when you respond, you could receive up to five mailings encouraging you to participate before the U.S. Census Bureau follows up in person.

  • 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

What will I be asked?

The Census is brief, and the questions are simple. Click on this link to see what you will be asked: View the 2020 Informational Questionnaire

Your Information Is Secure & Private.

By law, the Census Bureau cannot share your answers by name with others, including welfare agencies, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Internal Revenue Service, courts, police and the military.

The numbers published by the Census are combined with thousands of answers from people in your neighborhood and across the country. No one, except sworn Census Bureau employees, can see your questionnaire or link your name with your responses. In fact, the law provides severe penalties for any census employee that makes your answers known.

Census Timeline (Adjusted Due to COVID-19):

  • February 2020: Group quarters counts begin (assisted living / college dorms)
  • March 12, 2020: Public response begins
  • April 1, 2020: Census Day
  • August – September 2020: Non-response, in-person follow-up
  • October 31, 2020: End of data collection *Pending U.S. Justice Department appeal
  • December 2020: Census counts delivered to U.S. President and Congress
  • March 31, 2021: Deadline for redistricting counts to be sent to states

About the Census

The U.S. Census counts every resident in the United States. It is mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution and takes place every 10 years. Thomas Jefferson led the first census in 1790. The data collected by the census determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and is also used to distribute billions in federal funds to local communities.

The 2020 Census will require counting an increasingly diverse and growing population of around 330 million people in more than 140 million housing units. To get an accurate count, the Census Bureau must build an accurate address list of every housing unit, maximize self-response to the census, and efficiently follow up with those who do not respond.