The U.S. Census
The United States Census Bureau, part of the Department of Commerce, is responsible for administering the Decennial Census which counts everyone in the United States. The Bureau also compiles other types of data through sampling and data collection. Some Census data is available at Census.gov. Detailed, personal information is released by the National Archives 72 years after the Census is taken.
When the U.S. Census was first taken in 1790, personal information was posted publicly. Now personal information collected in the Census is only released after 72 years. Decennial Census records from 1940 were released on April 2, 2012. In fact, even Census data is suppressed if it could be used to identify specific people.
Visit www.census.gov/history to learn how the privacy and confidentiality of Census records has changed over the years, view old Census questions, and learn how to use the Decennial Census for genealogical research.
The 2020 Decennial Census
April 1, 2020 is Census Day! Here are some places to find more information:
- Census information in various languages
- Treasure Valley Census
- A list of Complete Count Committee partners is available here: Governor Little forms committee to assist federal partners in 2020 Census Count. Monday June 24, 2019. https://gov.idaho.gov/pressrelease/governor-little-forms-committee-to-assist-federal-partners-in-2020-census-count.
A rough timeline of the 2020 Census
- January 21, 2020 – Population count begins in Alaska.
- March 12 through April 3 – Letters and postcards are mailed, inviting people to respond online.
- March 30 through 31 – Service-Based Enumeration to count people without a residence.
- April 2 through June 5 and July 1 through 24th – Surveys of Group Quarters.
- April 20th and 27th – Postcards mailed stating that “It’s not too late” to respond.
- May – Enumerators will visit those not yet counted.
- December 31 – Apportionment counts delivered to President and Congress by the end of the year. UPDATE: This data was delivered on April 26, 2021.
- March 31st, 2021 – Deadline for the Census Bureau to distribute data to the states. Commissioners will be appointed to Idaho’s Citizen Commission for Reapportionment once the population data is available.
- April 2, 2092 Information from the 2020 Census will be released by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), 72 years after the information was collected.
This page was updated by Ronnie Joiner on April 29, 2021.