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Explained: The 2020 U.S. Census

By: Jackson Carter

· Domestic Policy

In 2020, the United States federal government will take a census of the American population. The American census, which is established by Article I Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, is a survey of the American people taken every 10 years. The first American census was collected in 1790, and has been taken every 10 years since. The census is conducted by the United States Census Bureau, which operates under the United States Department of Commerce. The census serves many roles in our government, it’s most important being determining the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives (no more than 1 representative for every 30,000 persons) and helping to identify how the federal government should allocate over $400,000,000,000 in federal community funding.

The census in 2020 will be a census of many firsts. For example, according to NPR, “The 2020 count will be the first one to allow all U.S. households to respond online. Paper forms will still be available, and, for the first time, you can call 1-800 numbers to give responses over the phone. Census workers will make home visits to remote gather census information in person. Households in the rest of the U.S. that do not respond themselves by early April may start receiving visits from door knockers trained to conduct census interviews and collect responses using smartphones”. 

Like clockwork, each time there is a census, there is a battle over certain questions and what will, and will not, be allowed on the census form. Before diving into the controversies of the 2020 census questions, here is what can be expected on every census:
•The number of people living or staying in a home on April 1, 2020.
•Whether the home is owned with or without a mortgage, rented or occupied without rent.
•A phone number for a person in the home.
•The name, sex, age, date of birth and race of each person in the home.
•Whether each person is of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin.
•The relationship of each person to a central person in the home

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