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About the 2020 Census

Students, your community needs your participation in the 2020 Census!

The 2020 Census counts every person living in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories. The count is mandated by the Constitution and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency. Each home receives an invitation to respond to a short questionnaire—online, by phone, or by mail.

The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and your community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data. The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.

Census Day is April 1, 2020, but shaping our communities for a better future starts now.

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Why It Matters

It is especially important that students participate in the census because it directly effects:

  • Funding federal student loans and campus operations
  • Funding public goods such as healthcare, transit, food assistance, etc.
  • Fair political representation at the local, state, and national level

A total of $675 million federal dollars are at stake!


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Hard-to-Count Populations

In 2010, 25% of Cook County’s population did not respond to the census which was the highest non-response rate in Illinois. Additionally, 16% of Illinois residents live in Hard-to-Count census tracts, making up more than 2 million people. Hard-to-Count (HTC) populations include non-English speakers, immigrants, ethnic & racial minorities, low-income, homeless, rural populations, reentering people or those with criminal records, people with disabilities, and students.

HTC populations in Illinois


Students tend to be under-counted for many reasons, but one contributing factor is where students are living. If you are a student living on-campus, the U.S. Census Bureau will work with your institution to make sure you are counted. If you live off-campus, you are responsible for filling out the census online, by mail, or by phone wherever you are on April 1, 2020 which is National Census Day. All students should inform their parents that they will complete the survey if they are living away from home on April 1, 2020, so students are not counted more than once.

HTC students


For more information, please see our FAQ and Resources pages or contact us directly.