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3 Ways the Census Affects You  

In March 2020, your household—and every household in the United States—received a notice in the mail about completing the 2020 Census. If you haven’t completed the Census yet, you can do it by phone, by mail, or online. In fact, you can fill out the Census right now. It only takes about 10 minutes and is safe, secure, and confidential.

Why the Census matters

The Census is done every 10 years, and the results have a direct impact on everyone in our community. Information from the Census is used to:

1. Decide how much federal funding each state or community receives.

Rhode Island receives $3.8 billion in federal funding each year based on the results of the Census. These funds support services and programs in our communities, such as:

  • Medicaid
  • Medicare Part B
  • Public transportation
  • Fire departments
  • School lunch program
  • Section 8 housing
  • SNAP
  • WIC
  • Head Start
  • Federal Direct Student Loans
  • Health centers

2. Determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Rhode Island currently has two seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. If fewer people are counted in 2020, our state risks losing an advocate in Congress. 

3. Ensure fair representation at the state and local level.

A complete and accurate Census count also helps to ensure fair representation at the state and local levels and provides important demographic data that community leaders use to enforce civil rights and plan for Rhode Island’s future.

How your privacy is protected

When you respond to the Census, your answers are kept anonymous. They are used only to produce statistics. The U.S. Census Bureau is bound by law to protect your answers and keep them strictly confidential. Federal law prohibits the Census Bureau from sharing your personal information with anyone, including other government agencies such as ICE, for any reason.

Learn more about the Census at For updates about the Census, text PLEDGE to (401) 205-3434. It’s not too late to be counted!

All statistics in this article are from the United States Census Bureau.