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How & When to Respond

Our Community Counts!

  • Every household can respond online, by mail, or by phone.
    • 95% of households will receive their census invitation in the mail

    • 5% will receive their census invitation when a census taker drops it off. In these areas, many households may not receive mail at their home’s physical location (like those that use PO boxes, or areas recently affect by natural disasters).

    • Responding should take less time than it takes to finish your morning coffee.

  • A small number of households will be visited in-person.
    • Less than 1% of households will be counted in person by a census taker, instead of being invited to respond on their own. (Typically, in very remote areas like parts of northern Maine, remote Alaska, and in select American Indian areas that ask to be counted in person.)

    • There are special procedures to count people who don’t live in households, such as students living in university housing or people experiencing homelessness.

Being counted in the census in 2020 will be easier than ever before.

For the first time in history, Pennsylvanians will be able to respond online.

Residents will also be able to answer the census by mail, or by phone.

Census Timeline

The Census Bureau will begin encouraging households to participate in the census as early as March 2020. When it’s time to respond, most households will receive an invitation in the mail. Every household will have the option of responding online, by mail, or by phone.

On Or Between
You’ll Receive
March 12 – 20
An invitation to respond online to the 2020 Census. (Some households will also receive paper questionnaires.)
March 16 – 24
A reminder letter.
If You Haven’t Responded Yet
July 1 – September 3
Census takers will work with administrators at colleges, senior centers, prisons, and other facilities that house large groups of people to make sure everyone is counted.
August 11 – October 31
Census takers will interview homes that haven’t responded to the 2020 Census to help make sure everyone is counted.

Three Ways to Complete the Census


The questionnaire can be completed by using your computer, tablet or mobile device.


You can call the U.S. Census Bureau and participate over the phone.


If households do not fill out the census online or by phone, the Census Bureau will send you a paper questionnaire to complete.