University News

Here’s what students need to know about the 2020 census

In the wake of COVID-19, the federal government recently updated its guidance on how college students should respond to the census.

A computer user looks at census website on their laptop.
Photo by U.S. Census Bureau

As 2020 census forms begin arriving in mailboxes around the country, it’s time for Carolina students to help shape the future of the United States. Even though they may be living in a different location or have moved home, Tar Heels still should be counted as part of the Carolina community.

Census responses impact funding allocations for schools, roads and other resources like federal grant and aid programs. Results also decide North Carolina’s number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and congressional and legislative districts.

Taking the time to respond to the census accurately is critical for our local community and state, said Kristen Smith Young, Carolina’s director of community relations.

In the wake of COVID-19, the federal government recently updated its guidance on how college students should respond to the census. Here’s what Tar Heels need to know:

  • Students who were living on campus or lived on campus or in Granville Towers before the residence halls closed, do not need to respond to the census. They will be counted by the University.
  • Students who lived in fraternity and sorority houses will be counted through instructions provided to chapter presidents.
  • Students who were living in an off-campus apartment or home, but are now temporarily living at another location, should respond using the address where they lived before spring break by visiting my2020census.org and entering the 12-digit code received in the mail. If you don’t have a code, click “Start Questionnaire,” and there is an option to indicate that you do not have a census ID. Ideally, one person should respond on behalf of everyone living in the house. If it is not possible to coordinate with roommates, everyone should respond, and the census Bureau will eliminate duplicate responses.
  • Students currently living in their off-campus residence, the same information applies and they should respond to the census.
  • International studentsshould follow the guidelines above that apply, regardless of their whereabouts after spring break or permanent residency.
  • Students who were studying abroad and have returned to the United States by April 1 should be counted where they are currently living.

For more information, visit 2020census.gov.