FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 10, 2020
Contact: Linda DeBerry
Communications Program Manager
City of Fayetteville
2020 Census Begins March 12: Stand Up and Be Counted for Fayetteville
The beginning of the 2020 census is right around the corner, and the City of Fayetteville is urging all City residents to complete their census questionnaire and be counted for our community.
The census count takes place every ten years, as mandated in the U.S. Constitution. The information is used to determine how many representatives each state gets in Congress and is also used in state and local districting. In addition, census data is used to determine how the US government will distribute more than $600 billion in federal funding. This funding goes toward a host of programs, including Medicaid, road and highway construction, hospital placement, public transportation, public housing, Head Start and the school lunch program, among many others. These are important programs to Fayetteville and to Arkansas as a whole. By one estimate, every person who goes uncounted will mean a loss of $30,000 to the state over the next ten years.
To encourage everyone to complete their census questionnaire, the City of Fayetteville and the Fayetteville Public Library are offering “Census Clinics” from March 13 through June 16. At each of these clinics, trained staff members will have iPads or Chromebooks available on which the public can complete their census on the spot. They are also available to answer questions. Dates and times of these Census Clinics are available at the end of this release, or online at Fayetteville-ar.gov/censusclinics.
So how do you complete the census? The census is conducted by household, counting everybody in the U.S. at the place where they are living and sleeping on April 1, 2020. Between March 12 and March 20, every address in the US should receive a postcard or letter including a Census ID number and instructions for how to complete the census: online, by telephone or by mail. The quickest way is to visit the web address provided, type in your Census ID number and complete the form online. There are only a few questions, and the whole process should take only about ten minutes. Completing your census early will keep the Census Bureau from needing to send someone to your door later in the year.
What will you be asked? The census asks for basic information about each person living under your roof: name, age, sex, gender and ethnicity. Then it will ask for the relationship each person has to the individual filling out the form: sibling, parent, roommate, partner, etc. You will also be asked if you own or rent your home. That’s it!
Is your information safe? Yes. Your answers are encrypted from the moment you click “submit.” Also, by law the Census Bureau cannot share any individual’s information with any other organization or government entity. Census Bureau employees take a lifetime oath to protect your information, with penalties of $250,000 and up to 5 years in prison if they violate that oath. Census information is used purely for statistics for 72 years. After that time period, the information becomes available for genealogy purposes.
Who counts in your household? Everyone living under your roof on April 1, 2020 counts as part of your household, even if that person is moving out on April 2 or is only living there temporarily. If they have no other place of residence, they count as one of your household. Children who divide their time between their parents’ homes should be counted in the home where they live and sleep most of the time. If they divide their time 50/50, then they should be counted at the home where they sleep on April 1. Newborns count, too!
What about university students? For students living in university residences, no action is needed; the university counts them and submits the information to the Census Bureau under the “group quarters” rule. Students living off campus will be responsible for completing their own census questionnaires. They should be counted here in Fayetteville, not as part of their parents’ household, wherever that may be.
What if you were born in another country? Even if you’re not a U.S. citizen, if you are living here, you need to be counted. This includes international students. There is no citizenship question on the census. The census is available to answer by telephone in twelve languages other than English, and there are guides for how to answer the census in more than 50 additional languages.
Everyone counts! For more information about the 2020 census, including information about how you can help Arkansas achieve a complete count, please visit 2020census.gov or Fayetteville-ar.gov/census2020.
At City Hall: 113 West Mountain Street, Fayetteville
City staff or volunteers will set up a table in the first-floor lobby with tablet computers.
- Friday, March 13, noon to 2 p.m.
- Tuesday, March 17, 5 to 7 p.m.
- Friday, April 10, noon to 2 p.m.
- Tuesday, April 21, 5 to 7 p.m.
- Friday, May 8, noon to 2 p.m.
- Tuesday, May 19, 5 to 7 p.m.
- Friday, June 12, noon to 2 p.m.
- Tuesday, June 16, 5 to 7 p.m.
At the Fayetteville Public Library: 401 West Mountain Street, Fayetteville
Library staff will set up a kiosk in the library lobby to assist visitors with census forms and questions.
- Wednesday March 18, noon to 2 p.m.
- Sunday March 22, 1 to 3 p.m.
- Wednesday April 1, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Saturday April 4, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Tuesday April 7, 2 to 4 p.m.
- Monday April 13, 5 to 7 p.m.