Census Frequently Asked Questions

(Update September 4, 2019)

Why is the Census important?

A full count of all Riverside County residents is critically needed so that our local communities can receive resources to address needs such as infrastructure, health clinics, and schools.  Data collected guide the distribution of funds for services and programs that are crucial to the well‑being of families and communities, and also determine representation of our rapidly growing county at all levels of government.  The Census comes around once a decade, giving us only one chance every 10 years to count as many people as possible so we can have fair representation and funding.

Who should take the Census?

Every person living in the United States of America on April 1, 2020 must be counted in the Census.

When does the Census take place?

The Census is conducted every ten years, with the next enumeration in 2020.  Census Day is April 1, 2020.  By this date, the Census Bureau will have sent notices to every single household in the U.S. with an invitation to participate.  Starting in May 2020, Census takers will go door to door to households that have not responded.

What is the Census used for?

The results of the Census are used for three main purposes: representation, federal funding, and data.

Representation: Census counts determine how many seats each state gets in the House of Representatives.  Congressional, State Senate, and State Assembly district lines are drawn based on the amount of people in any given area.

Federal funding: Census data determines how more than $675 billion of the federal budget gets spent across the nation every year.  A third of the California state budget comes from the federal government to pay for programs like Medi-Cal, public education, housing infrastructure and housing assistance programs.

Data: Most of the population-driven data and research about our country comes from the Census.  Governments, businesses, schools, nonprofit organizations, and others use this data to properly analyze the landscape of our communities across the country.

How do you fill out the Census?

The 2020 U.S. Census will be the first Census available online.  Residents will have the option of responding online, at 2020Census.gov, by phone, or by mail.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that completing the Census will take 10 minutes on average.  A sample of the paper questionnaire can be found at https://2020census.gov/.

What are Riverside County’s efforts on the Census?

Riverside County is partnering with San Bernardino County to develop a Census awareness campaign for the two-county region.  The Inland Empire Complete Count Committee includes the two counties, community-based organizations, educational institutions and business and philanthropic sectors.  The Inland Empire Complete Count Committee is co-chaired by Supervisor Perez and Supervisor Janice Rutherford of San Bernardino County.

Approximately 38 percent of Riverside County’s population lives in hard-to-count neighborhoods.  Hard-to-count populations include highly mobile residents, such as farmworkers; residents who live in non-traditional housing; individuals with low-English proficiency; and individuals experiencing homelessness.  Riverside County is working hard to avoid an undercount, and is developing an outreach plan to maximize resources for outreach – including $1.2 million the State of California has allocated to Riverside County for outreach efforts – and increase responses from hard-to-count populations.

Additionally, Supervisor Perez is engaging unincorporated communities, tribal governments and school districts to educate all our communities about the Census.

As a united region, working with as many partners as possible, we can help promote a complete, fair and accurate Census count of Riverside County’s population and be a model for the State of California.

Does citizenship status matter in the Census count?

No.  The Census is a count of all our nation’s residents.  Everyone, regardless of immigration status, needs to take part in the 2020 Census count.  The 2020 Census contains NO questions about an individual’s citizenship status.

For those who have concerns about opening your doors, there are other ways you can participate.  You can participate online and over the phone, from the comfort of your home or at a community‑run assistance center.  Completing your Census early, before April 30, 2020, will prevent the need for the U.S. Census Bureau to visit your household.

Your participation is vital, and your information is protected.  The Census Bureau is bound by federal law to keep your information confidential and use your responses only to produce statistics.  The government cannot publicly release your responses in any way that could identify you or your household.  It also cannot share your information with immigration enforcement agencies, law enforcement agencies, or allow your responses to be used to determine your eligibility for government benefits.

How do I get involved in the Census?

You can have a key role in increasing awareness, trust and participation in the 2020 Census.  We welcome your involvement, whether it’s raising awareness, answering questions or encouraging community members to participate.

To get involved, please contact my Census liaison, Shayra Hernandez, at 760‑863-8211 or by email, SHHernandez@rivco.org.

To join one of the subcommittees of the Inland Empire Complete Count Committee, visit http://iecounts.org/nominate.

If you are a community based organization who would like to get involved, please contact your Regional Coordinator to find out more: https://iecounts.org/ .

How do I work for the Census?

As Census Day approaches, the U.S. Census Bureau will fill thousands of positions at multiple Census offices across Riverside County.  Job seekers can check www.2020census.gov/jobs and www.USAJOBS.gov.  As job postings become available, they will be posted on Supervisor Perez’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/VManuelPerez4th.  

If you have questions or concerns, contact Shayra Hernandez, Census liaison for Supervisor Perez’s office, at 760-863-8211 or by email, SHHernandez@rivco.org.