Make Missouri Count

The census provides an official count of the United States’ population and information about important demographic changes over a 10-year period. The data is used to ensure states are being fairly represented, both in the allotment of federal dollars and the number of congressional districts. Did you receive an invitation in the mail to complete an online census questionnaire? Come to the library to fill it out! This page will help to answer questions you may have about the 2020 Census.

Fill out the 2020 Census here!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the US Census?

Why do we do the Census?

Why should I respond to the Census?

Funding?  What type of funding?

What if I don’t answer?

What type of questions are asked?

Will there be a question about citizenship?

Who do I Count?

What about Students?

How do I respond?

Will someone come to my home?

Is this person really from the Census?

How do I avoid fraud and scams?

Worried about executive overreach or law enforcement?





What is the US Census?

The Census is mandated by the Constitution and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency.  Article 1, Section 2, mandates that the country conduct a count of its population once every 10 years.  The 2020 Census counts the population in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands)



Why do we do the US Census?

  • Genealogical Records

  • Funding

  • Economic Development

  • Congressional Representation 

Why should I respond to the Census?

  • Representation in Congress for Missouri: The number of seats a state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and determines the districts for state government.

  • Funding: How to distribute approximately $675 billion in federal funding to local communities each year.

  • Planning: The creation and upkeep of local services such as roads, schools, hospitals, senior centers, emergency services, and libraries.

  • Businesses: The creation of factories, business headquarters, and stores, as well as the ability to recruit employees and conduct market research.

Funding? What type of funding?

All federal funding that states receive is a result of the Census.  In 2016, Missouri received $16.5 billion in federal funding for schools, hospitals, transportation, and more.  For every Missourian not counted, Missouri risks losing $1300 per person in federal funding. What are some examples of federal funding going to Missouri?

  • Medicaid

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

  • Highway planning and construction

  • Section 8 housing vouchers

  • National School Lunch Program

  • State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). 

What if I don't answer?

Participating in the census is required by law, even if you recently completed another survey from the Census Bureau. A complete and accurate count is critical for you and your community because the results of the 2020 Census will affect community funding, congressional representation, and more. If you refuse to answer, you may be fined. If you partially fill it out, a follow-up visit or phone call may be necessary. 



  • Mid-March 2020: An invitation to respond to the Census online will be sent to every residence sometime between 12-20 March 2020.

  • End of March 2020: A reminder letter and a reminder postcard will both be sent out at the end of March to the beginning of April.

  • Beginning of April 2020: If you still haven't responded, a reminder letter AND a paper questionnaire will be sent between April 8-16.

  • End of April 2020: A final reminder is sent between April 20-27 before a Census employee comes out to visit in person.

What type of questions are asked?

  • How many people are living or staying at your home on April 1, 2020.

  • Whether the home is owned or rented.

  • About the sex of each person in your home.

  • About the age of each person in your home.

  • About the race of each person in your home.

  • About whether a person in your home is of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.

  • About the relationship of each person in your home. 

Will there be questions about citizenship?

  • There will be no citizenship question.

Who do I count?

If you are filling out the census for your home, you should count everyone who is living there as of April 1, 2020. This includes anyone who is living and sleeping there most of the time. If someone is staying in your home on April 1, and has no usual home elsewhere, you should count them in your response to the 2020 Census.

What about Students?

  • Boarding school students below the college level should be counted at the home of their parents or guardians. 

  • College students who are living at home should be counted at their home address. 

  • College students who live away from home should count themselves at the on- or off-campus residence where they live and sleep most of the time, even if they are home on April 1, 2020.

  • U.S. college students who are living and attending college outside the United States are not counted in the census. 

How do I respond?

You will have three options for responding:

  • Online

  • By phone

  • By mail

Will someone come to my house?

If you do not answer the questionnaire, the Census Bureau will send a census taker to your home starting in May.

How do I know if this person is really from the Census?

If someone visits your home to collect information for the 2020 Census, you can do the following to verify their identity:

  • First, check to make sure that they have a valid ID badge, with their photograph, U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date.

  • If you still have questions about their identity, you can contact your Regional Census Center to speak with a Census Bureau representative.

If you suspect fraud, call 800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative. If it is determined that the visitor who came to your door does not work for the Census Bureau, contact your local police department. 


How do I avoid fraud and scams?

It is important to know that the Census Bureau will not send unsolicited emails to request your participation in the 2020 Census. Further, during the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau will never ask for:

  • Your Social Security number.

  • Your bank account or credit card numbers.

  • Money or donations.

Worried about executive overreach or law enforcement?

The Census Bureau is bound by Title 13 of the U.S. Code to keep your information confidential.

Under Title 13, the Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about you, your home, or your business, even to law enforcement agencies. The law ensures that your private data is protected and that your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court.

The answers you provide are used only to produce statistics. You are kept anonymous: The Census Bureau is not permitted to publicly release your responses in any way that could identify you or anyone else in your home.



For more information!