Census 2020

You Count HERE!



2020 is a Census Year!


Since 1790, the United States has counted everyone living in the country every 10 years, including college students. Responses to the survey provide essential data for planning, distributing political power, and economic resources. It determines funding for tuition assistance, housing, public transit, health care clinics, the number of seats we have in Congress, and helps make sure communities across the nation are accurately funded and represented for the next decade.


College students like everyone else, count where they live! Whether you were born here, are a foreign exchange student, or are undocumented, you are eligible to complete the survey. Even if you have spent half of this spring semester at your parents’ or guardian’s address, you should count the address where you’ve lived most of the time. For most students, that is their Spokane address.


A few things to remember:

  • Generally, people should count themselves based on where they were living on April 1, 2020, however most college students are counted differently and should not be counted at their parent/guardian’s residence.

  • Students living on campus in university residence halls and apartments are counted there as part of Group Quarters Operations. Gonzaga University Housing and Residence Life staff are working to ensure all students who would have been living on campus as of April 1 are counted, even if they were temporarily living elsewhere due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Students living off campus should count themselves at their off-campus address while in school, even if they relocated to another address due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • Students who attend Gonzaga University primarily via distance learning, and who do not reside in Spokane, should count themselves in their ‘home’ communities.

  • Parents and guardians should not count college students on their Census unless their student has lived with them the majority of time during their student’s college career. If parents have already completed their Census form and included their college student, the student can visit www.census.gov and complete an individual response survey electronically, indicating they were attending college in Spokane during the spring semester and using a Spokane address.  Students do NOT need to do this if they lived on-campus.


For more information and a link to complete the 2020 Census online, visit www.census.gov.

If you have questions about the Census in action at Gonzaga University, please contact Housing and Residence Life, housing@gonzaga.edu



The Census is a brief survey the Census Bureau sends to every household in the country every 10 years. The U.S. Constitution requires the government to count every living person in the United States, regardless of citizenship or immigration status at the beginning of each decade.
  • Participation in the Census brings vital federal dollars to our state and local communities because the Census results guide public funding decisions. In 2017, Washington state received $29 Billion in Census-guided spending (based on the 2010 Census). Estimates indicate that every individual who completes the 2020 Census could bring an additional $3000 per year to our community. That means that completing the Census could bring an additional $30,000 to our community over the next decade, just by filling out the survey.

  • Many of the most important decisions made by government and business leaders are based on the information that is provided by the Census. The Census is the foundation of fair political representation. Seats in the House of Representatives, state legislative seats, and city elected positions all rely on the Census to ensure equal representation of the people.

Everyone living in the 50 states, DC and 5 U.S. Territories is required by law to be counted by the 2020 Census.
Certain questions are asked to provide federal needs and community benefits. The information the Census Bureau collects helps determine how more than $675 Billion of federal funding annually is spent on infrastructure and services. Your answers help federal, state and local leaders make decisions about schools, hospitals, emergency services, roads, bridges, job-training centers, and many other projects and programs that benefit our community.
  • Yes. The Census Bureau is subject to some of the strongest privacy protections in federal law. Private information collected through any survey conducted by the Census Bureau can never be published. It is against the law for the Census Bureau to disclose or publish any private information that identifies an individual or their address. Personal information collected through the Census also cannot be disclosed to any person, organization, or government body, including other departments of the federal government, state governments or any law enforcement agency.  

  • All Census Bureau employees and every person with access to protected Census data are legally required to maintain the confidentiality of Census data, and are sworn for life to protect that information. Anyone who violates this law faces severe penalties.

  • The ACLU and other groups are monitoring closely to ensure full compliance with privacy protections and laws. 

2020 is the first time the Census survey can be completed online. Concerns about cybersecurity have been raised. The U.S. Census Bureau states that the agency has a team of cybersecurity experts who monitor and protect all agency technology around the clock. The agency’s cybersecurity meets the highest standards for protecting your information, with the goal – and legal obligation – of keeping your data safe from the moment your responses are collected. The Census Bureau’s technology is protected by strong authentication and authorization methods and is fully “locked down” so that it can only be accessed by fully vetted individuals who are trained in data and cybersecurity.
No. The law prevents the Census Bureau from sharing your information with law enforcement. Your answers cannot be used to impact your eligibility for government benefits. Your answers are only used to create statistics about our country. The Census Bureau is bound by Title 13 of the U.S. Code to protect your personal information and keep it strictly confidential.
You can see the questions and more information at the census site question overview. You can also view the official 2020 Census form, and find a video provided by the Census Bureau that also reviews each question.
No. The Supreme Court and other courts have permanently blocked the government from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. More information can be found on the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington FAQs webpage.
Yes! Census information and supporting materials are available in 59 languages. You can see the list of supported languages at the census site.
The Census Bureau will never ask for your full Social Security Number, money or donations, anything on behalf of a political party, or your bank account or credit card numbers. All correspondence from the Census will also come from Jeffersonville, IN.