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The 2020 census is starting soon, and seniors need to be counted. This may be more of a challenge this year because for the first time, the census will be completed largely online.

The U.S Constitution mandates that the federal government conduct a census every 10 years. Information from the census is used to determine how many representatives each state sends to Congress as well as where hundreds of billions of dollars from federal programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid, nutrition assistance and supportive housing, is allocated. In addition, communities rely on census data to apportion services like new roads, schools, libraries and emergency services.  Think of it as America’s 10-year checkup.

While the census is being conducted largely online, you do not need to fill out the form online if you don’t want to. Beginning in March 2020, the census will mail out postcards to each household, giving instructions on how to respond. You will have the option of responding online, by mail, or via the phone. If you don’t respond, a census worker will visit your home to collect the data.

If someone visits your home to collect information for the 2020 Census, check to make sure that they have a valid ID badge, with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. Census workers will not ask for donations or for your Social Security or bank account information.

For more information about the 2020 census, click here.