Everyone Counts. Make Sure Your Voice Is Heard in the 2020 Census.

​Voting is one of the most effective ways Americans can have a say in their own government, but all people living in the United States can also make their voices heard by being counted in the 2020 Census. 


african american family​The U.S. Constitution requires that the federal government complete a count of the country’s entire population every 10 years. The results of the 2020 Census, which kicks off for Virginia in March, will have huge implications for Virginia Beach – from funding for vital infrastructure and services to ensuring fair congressional representation for the state.
The first census began after the inauguration of President Washington and shortly before the second session of the first Congress ended. The Census Act of 1790 established that each state should have proportional representation in the U.S. House of Representatives based on its population.  

That very first census called for the name of the head of the family and the number of persons in each household of the following descriptions:
  • Free white males of 16 years and older (to assess the country's industrial and military potential)
  • Free white males under 16 years old
  • Free white females
  • All other free persons
  • Slaves
However, each of these people were not counted in the same way. In order to amass more political power in the House of Representatives, rural southerners demanded that enslaved Africans be counted in the census, while more urban northerners feared their political position would be significantly reduced if they were. The new legislature reached a grossly flawed compromise that further degraded the humanity of slaves; for more than 75 years, they were only counted as three-fifths of a human being for the purposes of Congressional representation and taxation.

Today, the census is designed to make sure our government accurately represents everyone. If certain groups are undercounted, their voices are diminished. 
Research shows that certain sociodemographic groups tend to be “hard to count.” Examples of hard-to-count individuals include:
  • Complex households with blended families, multi-generations or non-relatives
  • Cultural and linguistic minorities or those who have limited English proficiency
  • Recent immigrants
  • Racial and ethnic minorities
  • Renters
  • LGBTQ persons
  • People with low income 
  • Young children
  • People experiencing homelessness
  • Those less likely to use the Internet and others without Internet access
  • People living in rural or geographically isolated areas
  • People who have distrust in the government
  • Those with mental and/or physical disabilities
  • People without a high school diploma
Instructions to complete the 2020 Census will be sent to every Virginia Beach residence in March. Your forms should be submitted before the end of April and may be completed online, by mail or by phone. The City encourages every household to complete the census as early as possible.

For more information, visit 2020Census.gov

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