Census 2020: Be Counted, Be Protected New York

The Census is crucial to New York’s democracy. It apportions political power and determines how vital federal resources are allocated. The NYCLU wants you to know why it's important to fill out the Census, how the Census safeguards your privacy, and how to avoid scams.

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Why You Should Fill out the Census

Census data is the basis for distributing to states nearly $900 billion in federal resources, for critical programs like Medicaid, Section 8 housing, SNAP, school lunches, and more. It also determines funding for hospitals, health programs, and our first responders.

The Census also shapes our democracy. Congressional seats and Electoral College votes are assigned based on population data from the Census, so every New Yorker needs to make sure they are counted. In 1950, New York had 45 congressional seats. We’re now down to 27, most recently losing two seats in 2010.

Ways to Fill out the Census

You can fill out the Census online or over the phone in 13 languages.

You can complete the Census even if you do not have, or you lost, the Census ID number you were mailed. You can also respond by mail to a paper form that arrives at your home.

Fill out the 2020 Census


Your Privacy is Protected

Your answers to the Census are confidential and safeguarded by law. The Census Bureau cannot disclose any information that identifies you, or share your information with housing providers or landlords. Your responses cannot be used for immigration or law enforcement. In fact, Census Bureau employees swear an oath to uphold your confidentiality under the threat of criminal penalty.

Your Timely Response is Good for Public Health

New York is at the center of the coronavirus pandemic, and we want to do all we can to protect the health of our families, neighbors, and fellow New Yorkers. Filling out the census online from home – now – can limit the spread of coronavirus because fewer census workers will have to go door-to-door later to contact New Yorkers who haven’t responded.

Respond now


The 2020 Census Has No Citizenship Question

The NYCLU, ACLU and others successfully stopped the Trump administration from including a question asking about your citizenship status on this year’s census. The administration expected the question would have resulted in an undercount of 6.5 million people. Thanks to our lawsuit, the Supreme Court ruling means there is NO citizenship question on this year’s census.

Learn more


Avoid Scammers

Legitimate 2020 Census outreach workers will NOT:

  • Ask for money
  • Ask for your Social Security number, credit card, or bank account
  • Ask your immigration status
  • Send you unsolicited emails or a link to fill out the census online
  • Use any URL besides “.gov”
  • Ask your mother’s maiden name or other security questions
  • Promote a political party
  • Threaten you with arrest
  • Send you paper forms with a return address other than Jefferson, Indiana
  • Come to your home before August 11
  • Ask you to come outside of your home
  • Refuse to show you their Census badge or badge number

Download and print our one-pager:

Census one-pager



  • The Census Counts coalition website at censuscounts.org is a good resource for most Census questions, including state specific information.
  • Naleo.org/census2020 is a resource for the Latino community.
  • CountUsIn2020.org is a resource for the Asian American/Native Hawaii/Pacific Islander community and provides a hotline to report any Census problems.
  • Census.narf.org is a resource for Native Americans.
  • The Arab American Institute also has a hotline that can provide language assistance - 833-33-6864 (833-3DD-OUNI).