2020 Census Residence Criteria and Residence Situations

Release Number: CB18-TPS.04

Greetings from the U.S. Census Bureau,

Today, we write to update you on the final decisions regarding the residence criteria and residence situations for the 2020 Census.

The Census Bureau’s goal is a complete and accurate census of every person living in the United States. To be fair and consistent, we follow a longstanding principle set by Congress to count people at their usual residence, which is where they live and sleep most of the time. As required by Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the decennial census is conducted to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives among the states. To that end, it is crucial to count everyone in the right place.

Each decade, we review how we apply the principle of usual residence to people in different residence situations, and we invited the public to weigh in during our review for the 2020 Census by publishing two Federal Register notices requesting feedback. We received comments primarily on where we count prisoners and military deployed overseas. We carefully considered those comments and looked at the residence situations closely and objectively to make our final decisions. Today, a decision memo and a Federal Register notice were published detailing the 2020 Census Residence Criteria and Residence Situations.

For the 2020 Census, we have updated where we count people in certain residence situations. In total, the way the criteria are applied changed for five residence situations.

  1. Overseas military and civilian employees of the U.S. government —The 2020 Census will count military and civilian employees of the U.S. government who are temporarily deployed overseas on Census Day at their usual home address in the United States, as part of the resident population, instead of at their home state of record. Military and civilian employees of the U.S. government who are stationed or assigned overseas on Census Day, as well as their dependents living with them overseas, will continue to be counted in their home state of record for apportionment purposes only.
  2. Overseas federal employees who are not U.S. citizens — The 2020 Census will count any non-U.S. citizens who are military or civilian employees of the U.S. government who are deployed, stationed, or assigned overseas on Census Day in the same way as U.S. citizens who are included in the federally affiliated overseas count.
  3. Maritime/Merchant Vessel Crews — The 2020 Census will count the crews of U.S. flag maritime or merchant vessels who are sailing between a U.S. port and a foreign port on Census Day at their usual home address, or at the U.S. port if they have no usual home address.
  4. Juveniles in Treatment Centers — The 2020 Census will count juveniles staying in non-correctional residential treatment centers on Census Day at their usual home address, or at the facility if they have no usual home address.
  5. Religious Group Quarters Residents — The 2020 Census will count people living in religious group quarters on Census Day at the facility.

After careful review, we’ve decided that we will not change where we count prisoners, college students, and people in other residence situations. These guidelines align with our desire for accuracy and fairness, and the longstanding principle to count people where they live and sleep most of the time.

Thank you for your ongoing interest in this important work.

Lakiva M Pullins
Chief, Data Users Branch
Customer Liaison & Marketing Services Office
U.S. Census Bureau
Office 301.763.7096 Cell 202.763.8977

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2020 Census Residence Criteria and Residence Situations

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