The 2020 Census: Mental Health Counts

Mar 10, 2020

Note: In light of the evolving public health situation due to COVID-19, the U.S. Census Bureau is taking steps to ensure that everybody in the U.S. is counted and that the health and safety of the public is protected. Remember, it has never been easier to respond to the census on your own, whether online, over the phone or by mail — all without having to meet a census taker.
Please come back to this page for on updates regarding the 2020 Census.


What is the census? 

Every 10 years, the government counts everyone in the country. The government will send you a letter in the mail in March with instructions on how to fill out the census. The census asks one person in every hometo answer a few questions. A home can be a house or apartment.

What if I don’t live in a house or an apartment?

Mostly, you should make sure that you are counted where you live or sleep most of the time. 

If you are living in a group living arrangement that is managed by an entity or organization that provides residents with housing, you don’t need to worry about filling out the census. The entity or organization will count you when they fill out their census forms. 

Examples of group quarters include:

If you are in a short-term stay at a hospital or other facility, you should make sure that you are included in your home’s census paperwork. 

If you are experiencing homelessness, or do not have conventional housing, the Census Bureau is working with service providers such as shelters, soup kitchens and mobile food vans, to determine the best way forward to ensure people are counted in light of public health concerns. 

What questions does the census ask?

Your answers to the census are secret. The government will not share your answers with anyone. 
The census does not ask if you are a citizen of the United States.
Some of the questions include: 

The census will also ask these same questions about the people who live with you.

Is It Really the Census?

Sometimes, people will mail you spam that says it is from the census. 

Here is how to tell if mail that says it’s from the census is real or fake:
The census will not:

Why Is the Census Important for People with Mental Health Conditions? 

Money for services and programs
Information from the census is used by federal, state and local governments to make decisions about funding for services and programs, which include education, housing, health and mental health care, transportation and other community needs. 
Representatives in Congress
If people don’t fill out the census, a state might get less representatives. Then, the people in that state won’t have as much of a say about decisions in Congress. We need to make sure every state has the right number of representatives.

If you have questions, call 1-800-923-8282 or go to Or learn more from the census brochure in English and Spanish

NAMI HelpLine is available M-F, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET. Call 800-950-6264,
text “helpline” to 62640, or chat online. In a crisis, call or text 988 (24/7).