An Introduction to the 2020 Census

Every 10 years, the federal government attempts to count every person living in the U.S. for the Census, also known as the “Decennial Census” or the “short form Census.” The next Census will aim to take a snapshot of all people living in the U.S. on April 1, 2020. Results from the Census directly affect issues of democracy – Census data are used to redraw district lines and distribute representative seats – and determine funding of social service programs for each state, including Medicaid, Section 8 housing vouchers, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Census data are also used by advocates to ensure they are meeting the needs of people in our communities, and by litigators to enforce civil rights protections.