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FAQ

What is the Census?
Every 10 years the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a Census to determine the number of people living in the United States.
Who gets counted?
Census forms are filled out by each household.  Everyone living at the address needs to be counted, including children. The Census counts everyone who is living in the U.S. - regardless of citizenship or age. 
People living in apartments, homes, prisons, college dorms, shelters or living outdoors are all counted where they are staying on April 1, 2020. Children living in foster care or with grandparents are counted where they live and sleep most of the time as of April 1.  Click here for more information on counting college students. 
What will the Census ask? 
The Census asks 9 questions: name, gender, age, birthday, race/ethnicity, phone number, relationship to head-of-household, and if you are a homeowner or renter. Then it asks most of these questions for each person living in the household. It does not ask questions about immigration,  citizenship, or income.  Go here to see an example of the form.
Is my Census information private?
Yes. By law, your information is CONFIDENTIAL, private and secure. The Census Bureau collects data for statistical purposes only and cannot share any household specific census data for 72 years. All Census staff working with confidential information take a lifetime oath to protect the privacy and confidentiality of individual information. Unlawful disclosure is a federal crime punishable by a $250,000 fine, five years in prison or both.  In addition, cybersecurity measures have been put in place to keep your information safe. 
Individual and household information is not available to any government agency or individual including law enforcement, IRS, ICE, DHHS, landlords and bill collectors. 
Go here for more information on privacy and confidentiality in the Census. 
How is Census data used?  
The Census count determines legislative representation and how federal funding is distributed to states and cities.  It’s how Berrien County gets our fair share of federal funds.
Census data determines how much federal funding Berrien County receives for federal programs and grants such as infrastructure (like roads), health care, education, school lunches, Head Start, Medicare, Medicaid, transportation and much more.  Census Data is also used to decide how much funding our libraries receive and for Pell Grants (student financial aid). 
How can I fill out the Census?
The Census Bureau will send instructions to all addresses in the U.S. in late March 2020. Only one person per household needs to physically fill out the census but they need to count EVERYONE in the household. So, if 6 people live at the house as of April 1, 2020, then the person filling out the form counts all 6 people. The Census can be completed online, by phone or using a paper form. If you don’t have access to a computer, check BeCountedBerrien.org for locations or go to your local library. 
Go here for more information on how you will be invited to participate in the Census. 
What if I lose the instructions sent by the Census Bureau?
You can still complete the Census form online or by phone. Go to BeCountedBerrien.org after March 15, 2020. We will post instructions and locations where volunteers can help you access the Census site.
What should we do if we spend the winter somewhere else?
Each housing unit receives census mailers. The “head of household” should respond using the address of their usual residence … where they live and sleep the most. If you consider Berrien County your “heart-home”, then complete the Census for that address.
How should we count children under shared custody?
Count children under shared custody at the home where they live and sleep most of the time. In cases of equally-shared custody, count children where they are on April 1, 2020. 
How are residents of group facilities or shelters counted?
Residents of group facilities or shelters will be counted where they are living on Census Day (April 1, 2020). For example, a nursing home resident will be counted at the facility where he or she lives. 
Go here for more information on counting group quarters.
How can I identify Census scams or fakes from the real Census?
Census workers will have a photo ID Badge with the Department of Commerce watermark and expiration date and a laptop or bag with a Census Bureau logo.
The Census Bureau will never ask for:
  • Full social security number, bank or credit card account numbers.
  • Money or donations or anything related to a political party
What languages are available? 
The internet survey and assistance will be available in 12 non-English languages including Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese and Japanese. Language glossares and guides will be available in 59 non-English languages. 
Do you have to be a citizen to be counted?
No.  According to the U.S. Constitution, the Census counts every person living in the U.S. as of April 1, 2020, including non-citizens, legal residents, and temporary or seasonal workers.
What is at risk for Berrien County?
The Census Bureau estimates that nearly 30,000 residents of Berrien County are at risk of being undercounted. That means we could lose $44 million each year or $440 million over 10 years in federal funding that our residents count on today. $44 million is based on the 16 largest federally-funded programs.  Go here to learn more about census-based federal funding. 
Go here for more information on distribution of federal funds. 

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