2020 Census

Our Community


census101 infographic

The 2020 Census is more than a population count, it will provide a snapshot of our nation – who we are and where we live. It's an opportunity to shape the future as its results will impact communities for the next decade. 

Counting our population and households will provide the basis for how many seats in Congress each state gets, and how billions of dollars in federal funding will flow into states and communities each year — impacting housing, education, transportation, employment, health care and public policy.

Counting an increasingly diverse and growing population is a massive undertaking. It requires years of planning and the support of thousands of people. The Census Bureau can’t do this without the help of local partners such as the City of Kentwood, businesses, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, colleges, schools and the media. Ultimately, the success of the census depends on everyone’s participation. We’re committed to a complete and accurate count of all Kentwood residents. Remember: Everyone counts!

The census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Once a decade since 1790, America comes together to count every resident in the United States, creating national awareness of the importance of the census and its valuable statistics. If you live in the U.S., you're required by law to participate in the 2020 Census. A complete and accurate count is critical. For more information, visit: 2020census.gov.


  • Beginning in mid March, people will receive a notice in the mail to complete the 2020 Census.
  • By April 1, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrives, you can respond for your home in one of three ways: online, by phone or by mail.
  • The deadline to respond is Oct. 15.
  • The Bureau is expected to announce the new population counts by Dec. 31. For a complete timeline, click here.


  • What's the census? The census is the official count of all people living in the U.S. It's been done once every 10 years since 1790.
  • Why take the census? When you participate in the count, you help your community get federal funds for its schools, health care, roads and other vital services. For each person counted as part of the 2020 Census, about $18,000 will flow into our community over the next 10 years. 
  • What does the census ask? It asks for information you probably know off hand for each person in your household. Things like name, sex, age, birthday, race/ethnicity and each person's relationship to the person filling out the form. You can view the census questions here. The 2020 Census will not include questions about citizenship, social security numbers, bank information or donations.
  • Who gets counted? Everybody! Children, adults, seniors - everyone counts. Learn more here.
  • How do I participate? In March, every household will receive a mailed invitation to fill out the census form online, by phone or by mail. It's a short form that takes about 10 minutes to complete. You can find a detailed timeline here
  • Why does my invitation say I live in Grand Rapids? Shouldn't it say Kentwood? The mailing address listed on Census invitations and the online questionnaires is the USPS mailing address. Postal services sometimes use different city names to make it easier for them to successfully deliver millions of envelopes across the country in a very short timeframe. Rest assured, the Census Bureau does count you in the census tract and census block where you live, not at the mailing city on your invitation or questionnaire. Please see this page at census.gov for additional information.
  • Is my census response safe and confidential? According to legal experts, the answer is YES, responding to the census is safe and confidential. Attorney Kelly Percival of New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, a recognized expert in census law, writes, “Federal law clearly prohibits the Census Bureau from disclosing census responses in a way that would personally identify a census respondent, including to other government agencies. Individual census responses cannot be used for any nonstatistical purpose like immigration regulation or other law enforcement. These clear, long-standing protections create a strong barrier against lawless attempts to misuse census data.”

To explore more questions and answers, see this U.S. Census Bureau webpage and this FAQ sheet. There are several ways that you can contact the U.S. Census Bureau for support. For contact information, click here.