The U.S. Census takes place every 10 years. Mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the census has been conducted since 1790 to count federal, state, and local populations.
Clackamas County is committed to promoting a complete and accurate census.
About the Census
Why is Census Data important?
Lots of reasons! Census data is used by:
- State and local governments, to make decisions about services, to plan community needs (like schools and highways), and to maintain proportionate representation for certain elected offices.
- Businesses, to determine where to locate offices and stores and to identify markets for goods and services.
- The federal government, to allocate federal funds and make sure all our residents are represented. Oregon is expected to gain one seat in the House of Representatives based on the expected 2020 count.
Further, census data determines how the federal government spends hundreds of billions of dollars for health care, housing, public safety, transportation and other programs. In 2016, more than $883 billion (!) in federal programs used census numbers to allocate funds, $13 billion of which came to Oregon.
Every community benefits the most when the census counts everyone. When we respond to the census, we get our fair share of hundreds of billions spent on schools, hospitals, roads, public works and other vital programs.
What’s involved with the census?
It’s pretty easy! Starting in March-April of next year, you’ll be asked to complete a census form, and for the first time, you’ll be able to do it online!
You will be sent a unique identification code through the mail that can be used beginning in mid-March (even without the identifier, people can still self-report).
Then just answer a few questions about your household members including name, age, race, gender, household size, ownership status, and Hispanic origin (which has been asked since 1970).
If you don’t fill out the online form, census workers will be walking door to door next spring/summer.
Can my information be used against me?
By law, the U.S. Census Bureau cannot publicly release nor share any data or responses that in any way identifies individuals or their households for 72 years. The Trump administration sought to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, but the Supreme Court rejected that, and the administration has ended efforts to do so. The form does ask about people to identify their Hispanic origins, but this question has been on the form since 1970.
What’s #ClackCo’s role in this?
Like other Oregon counties and government agencies, we’re working to spread the word about the importance of the census.
Every person counts in #ClackCo, and we’ll be working with partners to reach out to historically-undercounted populations, such as renters, single mothers, young children, rural residents, and minorities.
If you have questions about the Census, visit the United States Census Bureau website.