The 2020 Census and COVID-19 Update

In the wake of COVID-19, the Census Bureau has made operational changes to the Census 2020 operations. The deadline for self response online, by phone or by returning the paper questionnaire has been extended to September 30th.

Right now, our priority is clear: complete the census online, by phone, or by mail. It has never been easier to self-respond!


Make sure you and your family are counted!

#MuslimsCount2020 #CountUsIn #AAPI2020 #WeCount #OurTimetoCount

Census FAQs

What is the census?

The census is a snapshot of the nation. Every 10 years, the federal government is legally required to count every person, citizen and non-citizen, living in the country. This count must include people of all ages, races, and ethnic groups. Every household should complete a census form (either online, or by mail or phone) by August 14, 2020. Participating in the census is our right and responsibility.

Census data guides the allocation of more than $1 trillion in federal government resources to states, localities and families every year. The census determines funding for vital government programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, and more.

The government also uses census data to draw district lines and determine how many seats each state will get in the House of Representatives.

Why is the census important for Muslim Americans?

Historically, the census tends to miss racial minorities, immigrants, young children and those with lower incomes. These are the undercounted communities and Muslim Americans make up many of these groups (2017 Pew Survey):

  • Large foreign-born population –> 65 percent of adult Muslims in the U.S. are foreign- born and face language barriers
  • Younger Minority –> Muslims are considerably younger than the overall U.S. adult population (Muslims ages 18 to 39 are 60% compared with 38% of the U.S. adult population)
  • Many with low economic status –> Muslims are more likely than the general public to earn less than $30,000 per year (40% compared to 32% of the U.S. general public). 

When Muslim American communities are undercounted, they may not be accurately represented in the process to determine their elected officials. 

Undercounting also results in Muslim Americans being denied a full voice in policy decision-making and federal funding allocated to states and localities where Muslim Americans live.

Is it safe for me to respond to the Census?

Yes. The U.S. Census Bureau will keep your responses to the survey secure and encrypted at all times.

There are strong confidentiality protections that safeguard disclosure and misuse of census data. Under Title 13 of U.S. Code, census data can only be used for statistical purposes and cannot be used against respondents in court or by a government agency. Personal census information cannot be disclosed for 72 years (includes names, addresses, Social Security numbers and telephone numbers). Census Bureau staff who have access to personal information are sworn for life to protect confidentiality. Sworn staff are subject to a $250,000 fine and/or up to five years in prison for wrongful disclosure of information.

Policymakers and advocates such as Emgage are working to ensure full  Administration compliance with these critical protections.

What will the Census ask me? How long will it take?

The census is 9 questions and takes less than 10 minutes to complete!

The 2020 census will ask:

  1. Number of people living or staying in the house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2020
  2. Whether the residence is a house, apartment, or mobile home
  3. Telephone number (if needed for Census Bureau follow-up)
  4. Sex
  5. Age
  6. Date of Birth
  7. Hispanic Origin
  8. Race
  9. Relationships of persons in the household, including opposite and same sex spouses and unmarried partners

The form will not ask you about your immigration or citizenship status. 

The form will not ask for your Social Security Number. 

Why is it important for Muslim Americans to respond to the Race Question

The Race questions allows us to advocate for better programs and services for our communities. For example, race data was utilized to make the case in NYC for the Eid holidays. In addition, there are communities that are using race data to advocate for language translation at polling sites or halal lunches at schools and senior Centers. The Census does not ask faith affiliation and the only way to estimate the number of Muslims in America is through the race question.  

How do I respond to the Race Question?

Look at the categories listed in the race question. If you personally identify with the categories on the form: 1. Select the category you believe represents you; 2. Write in your family origin in the “Other” section. (e.g. person is Pakistani American, they would select Other Asian and then write in Pakistani in the spaces below)

Please note, the Census questionnaire does not recognize a MENA (Middle East North African) category. If you are Arab American then you can either: 

1. Select the “some other race” category (last box underneath the question) and write in your family origin (e.g. Egyptian, Palestinian, Yemeni, etc.) 


2. Select the category you believe represents you, and then write in your family origin in “Other” section (e.g. Egyptian, Palestinian, Yemeni, etc.) 

How do I make sure I’m counted?

Self respond now to census 2020! Each household (a household includes everyone who lives at one address) should submit one form and should list every person who lives at that address.

Tell friends and family about the census by sharing this link and explain why it is important to participate! 

Download this FAQ Page!