Census Day: April 1, 2020 – Why It Matters?

By Eileen Doherty, MS ~

Denver, Colo. – April 1, 2020 – April Fool’s Day and Census Day! Every ten years, the Constitution requires a count of all persons living in the United States.

In 2020, the census questions will include eleven questions including name, address, phone number, age, sex, citizenship, Hispanic origin, race, relationship to householder, household tenure (own/rent), number of persons in the household, and does any person usually stay or live somewhere else? Individuals should answer all questions, but incomplete forms will be included in the head count.

The citizenship question is controversial and will be heard by the Supreme Court to determine if the question will stay on the census forms.

All households will receive a postcard with instructions to complete the census beginning on March 23, 2020.  People can complete the census forms online, either on the internet or a cell phone; over the telephone by calling a census call center; using a paper form; or by talking with a census enumerator.  Census forms will be available in thirteen different languages. Forms must be completed by August 2020.

Census information is confidential. Census Bureau employees swear to a lifetime oath to protect respondent information. Individual results of the Census are released after 72 years.  Current data is released in summary tables. 

Census counts determine how many seats a state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.  If everyone is counted, Colorado may gain another seat in Congress giving us more representation.

Census information is also used to redraw state legislative districts.  Counting everyone may change legislative redistricting for the Colorado.

Lastly, census data is used to distribute federal, state, and county dollars.  For example, the census helps to determine the amount of funding for the Older Americans Act and State Funding for Senior Services, the amount of funding for food stamps, transportation, and much more. Currently Colorado receives about $2300 per person of federal funding based on 2010 census data. 

A major concern is underreporting of individuals, especially households with mixed immigration status, minority households, students, and homeless individuals. The Census Bureau will be hiring part-time staff to work with the hard-to-reach populations.  Older adults looking for part-time work are encouraged to apply with the Census Bureau.

For more information contact 303-333-3482.

Eileen Doherty

Eileen Doherty

Eileen Doherty, MS is the Executive Director of the Colorado Gerontological Society.  Her areas of expertise include management and administration of nonprofit organizations, education and training on issues related to older adults, advocacy and policy development on senior issues, and clinical practice in working with seniors and families to manage their lives in the later years. She has been the Director of the Society since 1982.  She teaches Nonprofit Management for Fort Hays State University.


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