A lot is at stake in the 2020 Census, and our communities can't afford an undercount. Essential neighborhood resources like street improvements, school lunches for children in need, and housing for seniors and families will all be gained or lost because of the 2020 Census.

Why it matters here at home

We only get one chance every 10 years to count all of our residents. With so many new folks moving in and others being forced to move to new parts of town, no Census has ever been more important for Austin and Travis County. This Census count will also help local elected officials inform important decisions and determine federal funding allocations for the next decade.

Did you know?

  • In 2010, undercounts occurred across Texas in large metropolitan areas, college towns, rural counties, and communities along the border
  • The mail-in self-response rate for Travis County in the 2010 Census was 75.9%, which required a costly and difficult in-person follow-up for the remaining 24.1% of residents.
  • 2.1% of children under the age of five in Travis County were undercounted in the 2010 Census.
  • Our most recent research estimates that reaching Travis County residents in hard-to-count neighborhoods at a basic level of $2 dollars per person (mailers, a couple public forms, and some level of direct outreach) would cost at least $742,000 dollars.
  • Most recent data shows that 11.6% of Travis County’s households had either no internet access or dial-up only.

What's at risk?

Many communities in Texas, including ours, have been underrepresented or undercounted in the past Census efforts. An undercount means Texas is not getting its fair share of funding and representation since not everyone living in our state was counted. Counting everyone can be logistically challenging. Those who are at risk of being undercounted in the 2020 Census are:

  • Very young children
  • Immigrants
  • People who live in rural areas
  • People of color
  • People who move residences more frequently
  • People who face language barriers

The 2020 Census is an opportunity to get as many people as possible to participate in order to shape our future.

Your responses are safe and confidential

Your Census responses are safe and confidential. Information collected as part of the 2020 Census cannot be shared with or by other governmental agencies or used against you in any way, as dictated under Title 13 of the U.S. code. It is for statistical purposes only. All Census Bureau staff take a lifetime oath to protect your personal information, and any violation comes with a penalty of up to $250,000 and/or up to 5 years in prison.

Learn about the local Census campaign

Historically Undercounted Communities in Austin and Travis County

Texas is at risk of an even larger undercount in 2020. Today, 25% of Texans, or over 6 million people, live in hard-to-count neighborhoods, where past self-response rates have been relatively low. Today in Travis County, 32% (over 370,000 people) of the population live in hard-to-count neighborhoods. An undercount means Texas is not getting its fair share of funding and representation since not everyone living in our state was counted. View the map below to see if your neighborhood is at risk of being undercounted.

For assistance with this map please call 512-854-6185 or email census@traviscounty.org.

screen grab of Hard to Count Map

Census 2020 Questions & Answers

  • Some federal funds, grants, and support to states, counties and communities are based on population.
  • It is critical for everyone to be counted, regardless of immigration status. When you respond to the Census, you help your community get its fair share of federal funds.
  • Businesses use Census data to decide where to build factories, offices and stores, and this creates jobs.
  • Developers use Census data to build new homes and revitalize neighborhoods.
  • Local governments use Census data for public safety and emergency preparedness.
  • Starting mid-March 2020, each household will receive a postcard in the mail informing them of the options for filling out the Census questionnaire. That includes online, by phone, or with a paper form.
  • Households that do not fill out the questionnaire during the self-response period will be contacted by the U.S. Census Bureau during Non-Response Follow-Up.

March 12-20: Households will receive an invitation to respond online to the 2020 Census. Some households will also receive paper questionnaires.

March 16-24: A reminder letter will be sent.

If you still have not responded:

March 26-April 3: A reminder postcard will be sent to households that have not responded.

April 8-16: A reminder letter and paper questionnaire will be sent.

April 20-27: A final reminder postcard before the U.S. Census Bureau follows up in person.

U.S. Census Bureau enumerators may contact households that submit partially filled-out questionnaires in an effort to obtain complete answers.

It is critical to be cautious of any requests that seem suspicious.

The U.S. Census Bureau will never ask for the following

  • Payment to fill out the questionnaire
  • Social Security number
  • Financial information

U.S. Census Bureau field staff will always show a valid Census Bureau ID. You can confirm that they are a U.S. Census Bureau employee by entering their name into the Census Bureau Staff Search or by contacting the Texas Regional Office at 1-800-852-6159

It is a federal crime to impersonate a federal official, and anyone who violates this law is subject to imprisonment.

  • The United States Census Bureau (USCB) is required by law to protect any personal information it collects and keep it confidential.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau is bound by Title 13 of the United States Code. These laws not only provide the Bureau with authority for its work, but also stipulate strong protections for the information the Census collects from individuals and businesses.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau uses responses to produce statistics.
  • Private information may not be published when it is collected. After 72 years, it may be published for historical purposes by the National Archives. It is against the law to disclose or publish any private information that identifies an individual or business, such as names, addresses (including GPS coordinates), Social Security numbers, and telephone numbers.
  • Answers cannot be used for law enforcement purposes or to determine personal eligibility for government benefits.
  • Personal information cannot be used against respondents for the purposes of immigration enforcement.
  • U.S. Census Bureau employees are sworn to protect confidentiality. Every person with access to data is sworn for life to protect personal information and understands that the penalties for violating this law are applicable for a lifetime.
  • Violating confidentiality or sharing the information other than for statistical purposes is a serious federal crime. Anyone who violates this law will face severe penalties, including a federal prison sentence of up to five years, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.

The 2020 Census questionnaire will NOT include a question about an individual’s citizenship status. Everyone, regardless of their immigration status, has certain basic rights. For those who have concerns about opening your doors, there are other ways you can participate. You can participate from the comfort of your home online and over the phone, or at community run assistance center. Please complete your Census questionnaire. An incomplete questionnaire may increase your chances of nonresponse follow-up by the U.S. Census Bureau. Households will receive an invitation to respond online to the 2020 Census beginning March 12, 2020. Your participation is vital, and your information is protected.

  • The Austin-Travis County Complete Count Committee is supporting a coordinated outreach and communication effort focused on reaching the hard-to-count (HTC) population. This Committee is collaborating and leveraging support from local governments, regional and statewide community-based organizations, nonprofit, education, and other agencies to ensure the hardest to count communities are reached. Communication efforts will aim to help our residents understand that their information will remain private and dispel misinformation.
  • Take a look at our Interactive Map for a list of upcoming events to get involved or to learn more, e-mail census@traviscountytx.gov.
  • Learn how to Get Involved!