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2020 Census information for students

For students living in sorority or fraternity houses

  • Responding to the 2020 Census will be easier than ever for University of Iowa students and other internet users, who will be able to respond online for the first time in Census history.
  • Up to five invitations to respond to the 2020 Census will be mailed to all addresses beginning in mid-March. The invitations will include information about the different ways to respond to the census, which include online, by phone, or by mail.
  • When responding, UI students should be counted where they live and sleep most of the time as of April 1, 2020. For most students, that means in their college town, not their hometown with their parents.
  • Students who live in university-recognized sorority and fraternity houses will be counted as part of the 2020 Census Group Quarters Enumeration operation. A single representative of each house will be given several choices for how to count the students who live there.
  • For more information, visit the U.S. 2020 Census website.

Why it’s important

  • Responding to the census affects government funding received by Iowa City and Johnson County and helps businesses make data-driven decisions that grow the economy.
  • Census data informs important decisions about funding for services and infrastructure in local communities, including health care, senior centers, jobs, political representation, roads, schools, and businesses.
  • The distribution of more than $675 billion in federal funds, grants, and support to states, counties, and communities is based on the census data. That money is spent on schools, hospitals, roads, public works, and other vital programs.
  • Every 10 years, the census results are used to reapportion the U.S. House of Representatives, determining how many seats each state gets.
  • The U.S. Constitution mandates that everyone in the country be counted every 10 years. The first census was in 1790.
  • After each decade’s census, state officials redraw the boundaries of the congressional and state legislative districts to account for populations shifts.
  • Responding to the census is a way to participate in democracy and say “I count.”
  • Local government officials use census data to ensure public safety and plan new schools and hospitals.
  • Businesses use census data to decide where to build offices, stores, and factories that create jobs.
  • Real estate developers and city planners use the census to plan new homes and improve neighborhoods.

What happens with your response

  • Responses to the 2020 Census are safe, secure, and protected by federal law.
  • Answers can only be used to produce statistics—they cannot be used against a person in any way.
  • No law enforcement agency (including DHS, ICE, FBI, or CIA) can access or use personal information at any time.
  • Answers cannot be used for law enforcement purposes or to determine eligibility for government benefits.
  • By law, all responses to U.S. Census Bureau household and business surveys are kept confidential.
  • Every Census Bureau employee takes an oath to protect personal information for life. The penalty for wrongful disclosure is a fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment for up to five years, or both.