2020 census: 5 things you should know
Wells Fargo’s Government Relations and Public Policy team shares five helpful things to know about this year’s census.
The year 2020 is critical for U.S. communities because it is the year of the decennial U.S. Census. First enacted in 1790, the census is constitutionally required to count every person living in the U.S. and its territories.
The statistics generated from the census will shape U.S. localities for the next 10 years. The census is already underway in parts of Alaska, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and from March 12 to March 20, other households will receive their invitation to complete the census by phone, mail, or — for the first time — online. Everyone living in the U.S. is required by law to participate.
Wells Fargo Vice Chairman of Public Affairs Bill Daley and the Government Relations and Public Policy team shared five helpful things to know about this year’s census:
1 The information collected from the census is used to determine how billions of federal dollars are allocated to communities over the next 10 years. “This data impacts how funds are allocated in critical areas vital to the health and well-being of our communities, such as housing assistance, small business and jobs, education, and public transportation,” Daley said. The data is also used to allocate support for hospitals and clinics, fire departments, workforce development, and other services and resources. Census Bureau data is used to help define low-income and minority communities that qualify for investment under the Community Reinvestment Act, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Without an accurate count, community needs may go unmet or may not be allocated.
2 Data collected by the census is used by businesses to guide their decisions — and it directly affects local and national economies. Businesses use census data to understand areas of need and opportunity in communities, which shape their decisions and how they invest, sparking job growth. Businesses decide where to build factories and open stores and offices, which creates new jobs, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. At Wells Fargo, census data helps provide a better understanding of the evolving demographics and needs of customers and communities, including identifying areas that lack access to affordable financial services or need business and philanthropic investments.
3 Information provided for the census is protected. The Census Bureau assures citizens that their personal information is kept confidential and advises that people will never be asked for their Social Security number, money, donations, anything on behalf of a political party, or financial information. By law, the U.S. government may not release any personally identifiable information about an individual from the census until 72 years after it was collected, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
4 Information will be collected and reported throughout the year.
- By April 1 (Census Day), every home should have an invitation to participate in the census. When taking the census, people should provide information about where they live as of April 1, 2020.
- From March 30 to April 1, the Census Bureau will count people experiencing homelessness.
- Throughout April, census takers will visit college students who live on campus, people who live in senior centers, and others who live among large groups of people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- From May through July, census takers will visit homes that haven’t responded to make sure everyone is counted. Wells Fargo team members around the country are helping with this effort, including a group in Philadelphia that built ballot boxes for census takers to carry from house to house.
5 The year 2020 marks important civic anniversaries and opportunities. This year is the centennial of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote in 1920, and it is the sesquicentennial of the 15th Amendment, ratified in 1870, which guaranteed African American men the right to vote. “Wells Fargo has a long history of civic engagement,” Daley said. “Supporting communities is at the core of Wells Fargo’s culture and mission. As a company comprised of diverse team members and leaders, we seek to mirror the communities we serve.” That is why the company is committed to educating, engaging, and empowering its more than 245,000 U.S. team members to make a difference and be counted.
“Participation in the 2020 census is vital to the economic opportunity and success of the communities we live in and serve,” Daley said. “Wells Fargo urges everyone to do their civic duty and support their community by being counted.”