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Every Native American counts!Census 2020

What is the census?

Every 10 years, the United States counts everyone living in the country on April 1– both citizens and noncitizens. An accurate count of the population is required by law and serves as the basis for fair political representation. It is important for all California Tribes and Native communities to participate in Census 2020– this includes children, friends and relatives. 

Completing the census form is easy. The information that you provide on the census form is private and safe. It is illegal for anyone to distribute your information and there are laws that prevent anyone from sharing your information to anyone. The Census Bureau can only use your response to create information about the general population, including statistics on age, gender and race. The Census Bureau cannot share information about you as an individual. 

You will be asked about 10 questions like your age; the number of children in your home; and whether or not you are married. The U.S. Census Bureau will send you a postcard in the mail instructing you to complete the survey online. If you don’t have access to the internet, you can complete the census by mail or phone. Call 1-800-8282 for assistance.

Why is the census important?

Census 2020 is an opportunity to provide a better future for our communities and future generations. Historically we as Native Americans have been undercounted. Your responses to Census 2020 can help shape how $675 billion dollars in federal funds are distributed each year for programs and grants in Native communities.

An accurate count for California Tribal Nations and Native communities means fair access to resources and fair representation in local, state, and federal elected offices. The Native vote has increasingly become a “swing vote” in several states, and answering the Census 2020 ensures that your vote may make a difference. 

There are more than 70 programs that benefit the State of California that use census numbers to allocate funding including education, health, and human services that directly impact California’s Tribes and Native communities.

Census 2020 Key Dates:

January 21, 2020
Card #1
First census enumeration takes place in Toksook Bay, Alaska.
January 21, 2020
January 24, 2020
Card #2
Native People Count California Campaign Launches
January 24, 2020
March 2020
Card #3
Census notices are mailed or delivered to households.
March 2020
April 1, 2020
Card #4
CENSUS DAY!
April 1, 2020
May - June 2020
Card #4
Census workers visit some rural areas to update address lists.
office business
May - June 2020
August - October 2020
Card #6
Census takers visit households that have not completed the questionnaire.
August - October 2020
April 30, 2021
Card #7
By law, the Census Bureau delivers population counts to the President for apportionment of congressional seats.
April 30, 2021
July 2021
Card #8
By law, the Census Bureau completes delivery of redistricting data to states.
July 2021

How do I get counted as American Indian / Alaska Native in Census 2020?

Saying that you’re American Indian or Alaska Native on the Census 2020 form is a matter of self-identification. No proof is required. No one will ask you to show a tribal enrollment card or a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB).

The only way to ensure that you are included in all the census counts as AI/AN is to check just that ONE box on the form.

Census 2020 Questionnaire Tips:
Race & Tribal Affiliation

To be counted as an AI/AN household depends entirely on the race of “Person 1” – the first person listed on the Census 2020 questionnaire. If Person 1 says that he or she is AI/AN, then the household is counted as having an AI/AN householder.

Check the box on Question 9 “What is Person 1’s Race?” to indicate that you are American Indian or Alaska Native on the Census 2020 questionnaire. Checking the box is a matter of self-identification. No proof is required. No one will ask you to show a tribal enrollment card or a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB).

Make sure to write in the full name of your enrolled or principal tribe(s) if applicable, even if it takes up more than the space provided. Please list the full name of your Tribe, Band, or Rancheria to ensure that you are accurately counted.

Important Note: Tribal enrollment, and the right to determine the citizenship or membership of a tribe, is a fundamental right of tribal sovereignty and is not determined by the U.S. Census Bureau.

OPTION TO CHECK MULTIPLE RACE BOXES FOR CENSUS 2020

The option to check off multiple races means that an AI/AN person can identify as both Native and as a member of another race, such as white, Black, or Asian.

If you check the box for AI/AN, and do not check other boxes on the race question, you will be counted in the “American Indian Alone” category in analyses of census data.

If you check the box for American Indian or Alaska Native and check one or more races, you will be counted in the “American Indian Alone or in Combination” category in analyses of census data.

See the Census Bureau’s handout for more information on the Census 2020 Question on Race.

Want to learn more?

Visit Native People Count California to download resources & toolkits.