Census Fact vs. Fiction

census document form and ball point ink pen on American flag for 2020

Myths and rumors surrounding the 2020 Census abound, but fear not—Cleveland Public Library is here to give you the true story. Discover some of the common misconceptions surrounding the census, followed by the hard facts.

Fiction: “I worry I can’t trust the government with my information, or that my census data will be used against me.”
Fact: All census data is kept confidential, and your individual information is only used to generate statistics. The U.S. Census Bureau is required by law to keep this information confidential. No other government agency, such as the FBI or ICE, can use your responses against you.

Fiction: “I’m not a U.S. citizen. I’m afraid the 2020 Census will ask about my citizenship.”
Fact: The 2020 Census does not include a citizenship question, and undocumented immigrants have nothing to fear by completing the census. Per the U.S. Constitution, the census will count every person living in the country, regardless of citizenship status.

Fiction: “The 2020 Census doesn’t affect me, and it won’t do any good for me to complete it.”
Fact: A wide range of programs are impacted by census data, including Medicaid, Medicare Part B, SNAP, Head Start, foster care, road and bridge construction, special education grants, and more. See the section “Why Your Count Matters” on page 6 to learn more.

Fiction: “I have to fill out the census by mail or wait for someone to come to my door.”
Fact: In 2020, for the first time, the U.S. Census can be completed online. The census can also be completed by phone or by mail. Visit any Cleveland Public Library branch (or check out the open houses listed on the right) for assistance in completing the census online.

Fiction: “I’m on my own when it comes to filling out the census information.”
Fact: Cleveland Public Library is here to help! Robin Wood explains: “The Library is working with community organizations, neighborhood development organizations, church groups, and other libraries across the country to get the word out about the U.S. Census, which can vastly affect Cleveland residents and communities. If any patrons or community members have questions or concerns about the census, please stop by one of our libraries and ask. We’re here to help.”