2020 Decennial Census: It’s Important, Easy and Safe

Planning in Progress

Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution states that “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States … according to their respective Numbers … The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years.” With those words, the American system of government established the Census, a decennial (every ten years) counting and description of our population. The 1790 Census, our first, established a national population of 3,929,214. The most recent, in 2010, upped that figure to 308,700,000; a close to eight fold increase! To ensure we are planning for Maryland’s communities today and of tomorrow, everyone must get a full and accurate count in the 2020 census.  

The Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) is the official liaison with the U.S. Census Bureau.  In that role, the department is leading the State of Maryland’s 2020 decennial census efforts. In collaboration with our federal partners, Planning stresses that the census is important, easy and safe.  

  • Important: Census data determines the distribution of more than $675 billion in federal funds annually, determines Congressional and local legislative district representation and is used for important economic development and planning decisions.  Every uncounted Marylander will cost the state $18,250 over ten years in lost federal funding for important and life-saving programs suchMedicaid, CHIP, food assistance, emergency preparedness, transportation projects and school construction.  
  • Easy: Residents can respond by mail, phone or online for the first time.  
  • Safe: Census data is confidential and protected by law.  The goal for the department is to raise awareness and motivate everyone to get counted by self-responding to their census invitation.       

The official count day is April 1, 2019, known as Census Day. But Marylanders will have a window of opportunity to respond. Here’s what to expect in the spring of 2019.

On or Between What You Will Receive
March 12 – 20 Invitation to respond online (Some families will receive paper questionnaires)
March 16 – 24 Reminder letter
If No Response
March 26 – April 3 Reminder postcard
April 8 – 16 Reminder letter and paper questionnaire
April 20 – 27 Final reminder postcard before an enumerator will visit your residence in person

Other key facts that everyone should know about census 2020 include:

  • Completing your census form ensures Maryland families, neighbors, and communities receive the support they need to live, work, play, and grow.
  • College students should be counted at their college address, either on or off campus. They should be counted at their parent’s home only if they live and sleep there.
  • All children must be counted, including those under five years old. This age group is usually undercounted, but Planning is working to ensure this does not happen in 2020.
  • Census data is collected for statistical purposes only and personal data is never disclosed.
  • All census information is private and protected by law in Title 13 of the U.S. Code with violations punishable up to five years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine.
  • Every household will receive the paper form if they do not respond to the census invitations postcards and letter.   

In support of this effort, Planning developed the census.maryland.gov website; rich with information and resources for local governments, community leaders and Maryland residents. We encourage you to visit and share the site with your contacts.  On the site you will find:

  • General census information, purpose and explanation,
  • Outreach tool kits,
  • The Maryland Complete Count Committee membership,
  • Hard to count maps,
  • County level Complete Count Committee contacts,
  • Census jobs link.

The Maryland Complete Count Committee (CCC), which includes nonprofit leaders, elected officials, state agency heads and county and municipal government representatives was formed by Governor Larry Hogan by Executive Order in February. Planning is working with our jurisdictional partners to establish local CCCs as well to get everyone counted.

A successful 2020 census count requires an “all hands on deck” approach, and Planning seeks your assistance with this most important responsibility – to count every living resident in the State of Maryland. Talk to your neighbors about the upcoming census, share our resources on your Next Door Account and social media and let your colleagues know that their young children count – and must be counted!  Responding to the census has never been easier. You can even do it from your couch, phone in hand. The 2020 census is Maryland’s family portrait that will last ten years so help us get everyone in the picture!

To learn more about Maryland’s 2020 census efforts, please contact:

Adam Gruzs
Chief of Staff
(410) 767-4613

Randall Nixon
Associate Director, Maryland Census
(410) 767-8796

Emem Udo-Inyang
Outreach Coordinator, Maryland Census – Western, Southern, and Central Maryland

John Watson
Outreach Coordinator, Maryland Census – Eastern Shore

One thought on “2020 Decennial Census: It’s Important, Easy and Safe

  1. Pingback: Planning Develops School Enrollment Projections | Maryland Planning Blog

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