10 Questions in 10 minutes
Each decade since 1790, enumerators, also known as Census takers, have gone to each home to obtain an accurate count of who is living in the U.S. whether the person was a citizen of the U.S. or another country. In 2020, all those living in the U.S. will have the option of responding by mail, phone, online, or in-person interviews.
The instructions on how respond online or by phone will be delivered by invitation in the mail starting March 12, 2020. Each invitation will have a unique number so that each household will not be counted twice. Some households will receive a printed questionnaire which they can mail, postage-free, back to the Census Bureau. To respond by phone, call 844-330-2020. Here is the U.S. Census Bureau’s information on ways to complete the Census.
Many Native people who live on reservations in New Mexico will likely be visited by an enumerator and be given a unique number with the list of Census questions. Tribal members living in these communities may have a second visit by an enumerator if the questionnaires have not been completed.
Some communities, such as the Pueblos of Santa Ana and Santa Clara, that have access to broadband Internet will have the opportunity to do their Census online at their convenience.
I live on the reservation
A tribal enumerator or Census taker may visit you. Many villages are hosting community events to help tribal members fill out the questionnaire. Please contact your tribal office to inquiry about the process.
I live in the city
You will be mailed a questionnaire. Response can be online, by phone or by mail. An Albuquerque Urban Native Complete Count Committee has been established in the city to organize and pull together several Native American nonprofits to help get the word out about completing the questionnaire.
Question about your tribe or enrollment?
It is being recommended that each person put the official name of your primary tribe as noted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the Federal Register, for example, Pueblo of Laguna instead of Laguna Pueblo or Kewa Pueblo instead of Santo Domingo. Click here to see the list of the 574 federally recognized tribes in the Federal Register. The questionnaire, however, does not require you have to be officially enrolled in a tribe, nor will anyone check.
Download a sample 2020 U.S. Census questionnaire by clicking here.
Tribal & Albuquerque Urban Complete Count Committees
In 2018, tribal leaders, state governors, top elected officials and community leaders began creating Complete Count Committees (CCC), which are comprised of community leaders, nonprofits, schools, businesses, educators, health representatives, faith-based groups and others to help educate and motivate everyone to participate in the Census. When community members are informed, they are more likely to respond to the Census.
A majority of Tribal CCCs have been comprised of the Departments of Early Childhood Education, Police, Fire and Environment to better reflect how an accurate Census count can provide better information for grants and other tribal programs.
An Albuquerque Urban Native CCC has also been created.
At the beginning of 2020, the Tribal CCCs and other Complete Count Committees will start mobilizing and conducting outreach with partners.
They will help oversee the official count in their communities.
How to take the Census
The Population Reference Bureau has written a blog post about what people know when taking the Census. Here is an excerpt of the questions asked and why they are presented in this way.
(Click each title below to reveal the answers to the questions)
Who Receives the Census Questionnaire and How Is It Filled Out?
The person in the housing unit who fills out the Census questionnaire or talks to the Census taker is known as Person 1. Typically, Person 1 is the owner/co-owner or renter/co-renter of the housing unit. Person 1 answers general questions about the housing unit, including the number of persons living there and whether the dwelling is rented or owned. Person 1 also provides the following information about each household member:
- Relationship to Person 1
- Date of birth
- Hispanic origin
Why Does the Census Ask for People’s Names?
The census questionnaire asks for people’s names to ensure that each household member is counted only once. Names, along with other information in the questionnaire, helps census workers “de-duplicate” the data—which means to remove extra records if a person appears more than once in the count.
As the U.S. Census As mandated by the U.S. Constitution, our nation gets just one chance each decade to count its population. 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. The data collected by the census determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives (a process called apportionment) and is also used to distribute billions in federal funds to local communities.
The next census in 2020 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.
In the years leading up to 2020, we conducted research in four areas that focus on the major cost drivers of the census:
- Using the Internet to increase self-response.
- Using existing government data sources to answer census questions and reduce follow-up workload.
- Automating operations to increase productivity and reduce staff and offices.
- Using existing maps and address to reflect changes rather than walking every block in every neighborhood in the country.
The decennial census is the largest mobilization and operation conducted in the United States and requires years of research, planning, and development of methods and infrastructure to ensure an accurate and complete count.
By identifying the relationships between people in a household, census data enable us to recognize important trends in our society, such as:
- The number of people living with nonrelatives.
- Whether young adults are living with their parents or moving in with roommates.
- The number of households that include extended family members, such as in-laws or adult siblings.
Together, these responses help provide us with a snapshot of current American households. The information is also used to determine funding for federal nutrition and education programs, housing programs, and other social services that provide benefits to many U.S. communities.
How are household relationships determined?
It all starts with Person 1, who serves as the “Reference Person” for other household members. Everyone living in a household is grouped into categories according to their relationship with Person 1.
The census seeks to identify husbands and wives, children and step-children, and siblings, along with other family and non-family relationships. With the 2020 Census, people will be able to identify for the first time as a “same-sex husband/wife/spouse” or as a “same-sex unmarried partner.”
Why Does the Census Ask Participants Whether They Are Male or Female?
In the U.S. Census, each individual is asked to identify themselves as either male or female. These data are used to allocate federal funding for education under the Higher Education Act of 1965 and to enforce rules against gender-based discrimination.
Many stakeholders were disappointed that the Census Bureau did not include additional options for sexual orientation and gender identity in the 2020 Census. 
Why Does the Census Ask for Both Age and Date of Birth?
The questions about age and date of birth help to ensure that each person’s age is reported accurately and that each person is counted only once. For example, a parent might incorrectly write age 1 for their 11-month old child whose birthday is on April 15, 2020. The correct age on Census Day (April 1, 2020) is actually 0 (less than 1 year old). The birth date information helps Census Bureau staff correct these kinds of common rounding mistakes in how people’s ages are reported on the census form.
Age data are used in planning government programs that provide funding or services for specific age groups. School facilities planning and Head Start funding both rely on Census age data. Age data are also used in programs that provide services and assistance to seniors, such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Age data are also used to enforce laws against age discrimination.