Got Time on Your Hands? Fill Out the 2020 U.S. Census Online

A U.S. Census Bureau machines operator, circa 1908. Photo by Waldon Fawcett via Library of Congress

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    It will only take a few minutes, but could make a huge difference for your community.

    Taken every 10 years, the U.S. census helps determine how much federal funding New York will receive for areas like parks, healthcare, public housing and education, as well as the number of representatives it will have in Congress.

    You should have already received a letter from the U.S. Census Bureau in the mail and it includes your all-important identification number. Just head to my2020census.gov and enter your number to start the process. We gave it a try and it took less than five minutes to answer the questions. Your time commitment might vary depending on the size of your household, but the estimate is no more than 10 minutes.

    Here are a few tips that might help before you start the process.

    Don’t start filling out the form unless you have time set aside to complete it — you can’t stop and start and save changes. You must finish it in one session.

    Make sure you have all the information, including age and ethnicity, for everyone within your household on hand.

    Once complete, a confirmation number will pop up. Either select the print and save option or make sure to copy down the number.

    us census poster 1940

    A poster for the 1940 census. Image via Library of Congress

    If you want an advanced look before settling down and filling out the form you can check out the questions on the U.S. 2020 Census website.

    To help alleviate the digital divide in the city, public libraries were originally going to play an important role in providing Internet access to enable all residents to participate. That plan is on hold as libraries are temporarily closed during the coronavirus crisis, but access should resume once they reopen.

    The full census process was initially planned to run through July but has since been extended through mid August. For information on any further adjustments, check out the Covid-19 update page.

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