Frequently Asked Questions

How are census data used?


Census data are used to:

  • Distribute federal funds
    The distribution of more than $675 billion in federal funds, grants, and support to communities are based on census data. Community Development Block Grants, HOME Investment Partnership Program, Housing Opportunities for Persons with HIV/AIDS, the Emergency Solutions Grant, the Hamilton County WIC Program, and Child and Adult Care Food Programs are examples are federally-funded programs in the city and county.

  • Determine fair representation
    The results of the census are used to reapportion the House of Representatives, determining how many seats each state receives.

  • Redistrict political districts
    Following the census, state officials redraw the boundaries of congressional and state legislative districts to account for population shifts.


Census data is confidential and used only for statistical purposes.

What questions will I be asked on the Census?

You will be asked questions about:

  • How many people are living at your address

  • The names and relationships of people living at your address

  • If you are an owner or a renter

  • Your phone number (This is used only for official Census Bureau business).

  • Sex, race, Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin

  • Age and date of birth

You can download a 2020 Census Sample Questionnaire here.


When do I have to complete the Census?

You can start responding to the 2020 Census on March 23, 2020.

How do I complete the Census?

For the first time, you will be able to respond online. You will also have the option to respond via a paper form or by phone. You will receive a notice in the mail in mid-March and be able to start responding to the Census on March 23, 2020. Non-respondents will be followed-up with in-person U.S. Census Bureau enumerators starting in May 2019.


Are my responses private and secure?

The U.S. Census Bureau collects information for statistical purposes. All responses to the Census are safe, secure, and protected by federal law. Responses are confidential and are used only to produce statistics. . In 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau completed a Census test in Providence, Rhode Island, in preparation for the 2020 Census. Part of this included testing the U.S. Census Bureau’s ability to capture and transmit responses safely and securely. Strong precautions have been taken to keep online responses secure.