Everything You Need to Know About the 2020 Decennial Census

Every household across the nation will receive an invitation starting in mid-March 2020 to fill out the US Census. Read on to learn what is required, why it is important, and how you can help efforts to count every single person living within the United States.

The US Census is a short form snapshot of all United States households on a specific day, Census day. Census day this time around is April 1st, 2020.

Getting an accurate count during the 2020 Census is critical:

Make sure to respond to your Census to make sure that Lake Forest gets its fair share of funding and representation.  The U.S. Government will allocate all federal funds for the growth of the economy based on Census reporting, including funding for health care, education, and much, much more.

Everyone is affected when residents don’t respond. Each person that doesn’t respond costs the state of Illinois $1400 in lost potential funding each year, or a total of $14,000 over ten years.

Illinois also has seats in congress at risk because residents have move out of state.

Census results are anonymized and made available publicly for the use of our information-based economy. This data offers insights into the economic and demographic layout of the United States, used by public, private, for-profit, and not-for-profit organizations at all levels.

What questions are on the Census?

See a sample Census questionnaire here prior to filling in your Census. Guides to answering the Census are available in 56 languages. Find them here. 

The questions ask how many people are living/staying in the home, what type of home is it, contact info in case the Census needs to reach you in regard to Census Business, the name, sex, and date of birth of each resident in the home, if any resident is of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin, and each resident’s race.

Interested in how Illinois is doing in regard to responding to the Census? See the map here.

How you can respond to the Census:

There are two ways to fill in your census. By now, you should have received a letter with your household’s specific Census ID.

If you do not have your census ID, go to the website listed below, click “start questionnaire” and then below the box to enter your Census ID, and choose “If you do not have a Census ID, click here”.

  1. Online. Visit https://my2020census.gov/ to get started.
  2. Over the phone:

Paper forms will be mailed to homes in May that don’t respond online or by phone in March or April. To answer this way, simply fill out the form, enclose it in the envelope provided, and place it in your mail box.



How secure is the Census?

By law, the Census is required to keep your information confidential. Information may not be shared with other governmental bodies for any reason whatsoever. Also by law, the information submitted cannot be used against you in any way, no exceptions.

For more information, see this confidentiality fact sheet.


You can fill in your Census as soon as your letter has arrived, and it’s required by law. Do your part today! All Census responses must be received by the middle of August.