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5 things to know about the 2020 census in Lancaster County

Census 2020

The 2020 census will begin soon. Households may respond by mail, phone or, for the first time, online.

The Census Bureau has enlisted a wide array of Lancaster County leaders to get the word out that the 2020 count is starting soon and completing it is easy, confidential and vital.

It all begins in the middle of March, when every household will be receiving a mailer explaining the three ways to be counted: by mail, phone or, for the first time, online, including by smartphone.

Ready to be counted? Here are five things you’ll want to know.

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Survey length

The census is asking only nine questions, gathering such basic information as how many people are living or staying at your home, whether the home is owned or rented, and the age, sex and race of each person in the home.

An accurate count helps to assure equal representation in Congress and the state Legislature. Census data also helps the government and employers make decisions that effect the economy, schools and social services.

Outreach efforts

Many community leaders have joined a Complete Count Committee with the goal of getting a full count in Lancaster County. The Lancaster County Planning Commission staff has played a lead role so far.

Six subcommittees have been formed to make outreach plans for their constituencies, with a special focus on hard-to-count communities including Plain sects, immigrants, refugees and low income.

Over 40 languages are spoken in Lancaster County, making outreach more challenging here.

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Time frame

A census taker will be coming to your door only if you fail to respond by mail, phone or online.

Households will receive a first notice between March 12 and 20. A reminder letter will arrive between March 16 to 24. A second reminder will go out between March 26 and April 3. A third will be mailed between April 8 and 16. A final reminder will be sent between April 20 and 27.

If you haven’t responded by then, expect someone showing up at your door.

Privacy

The Census Bureau says the information you share is confidential and, by law, may not be given to anyone or any agency, including immigration officials.

Security

The Census Bureau says its technology securely protects confidential information through layered security design and data encryption.

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