Listen to the PODCAST for this post.

Every ten years the U.S. has a census. The last one was in 2010. This year the census will find out how many people are living in the U.S. (citizens and non-citizens) as of April 1. The primary question will be: How many people are living in your home April 1, 2020?

There will be other questions. Citizenship will not be one of the questions. Also, it is against federal law for personal information from the census to be shared. Only the bulk data is recorded.

The Rev. Gregory Han

Why is this important? PCUSA Pastor Gregory Han, Director of Interfaith Relations and Education at Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston explained this to me in a PODCAST this week.

Dollars: Dollars for a whole host of purposes is distributed based on the population. This impacts the neediest among us. WIC, SNAP, Meals on Wheels, and other services depend on accurate information.

Data: Decisions about infrastructure, such as the placement of hospitals, depends on accurate information about the population.

Democracy: The number of state and federal representatives for an area depends on the population. More people means more representation.

What you can do:

  1. VISIT to learn more and take the census pledge now. There you will learn about the census, who should take it, why to take it, how to take the census, and more. (The pledge is not the census. It is a pledge to fill out the census.)
  2. ENCOURAGE people in your congregation to take the census. Consider having a census Sunday at your congregation around April 1.
  3. HELP your neighborhood know about the census. It’s a great way to get to know the folks that live near your home or church. Consider becoming a census education volunteer, by taking THIS TRAINING.
  4. WATCH this videoThe Census Made Simple: 
  5. TAKE the census, of course! You will be able to take the census three ways: 1. online (English and Spanish), 2. by phone (12 languages) or, if you don’t do either of those, 3. someone will come to your home in person. Learn more at


Earlier census information looked like this:










Finding your family in previous censuses, is relatively easy. Just create a free account at Family Search and then search for family members by name or location here:

You can link to census information and photographs of the original census docs. The site will also give you access to birth, marriage and death records that are available.

Census records are confidential for 72 years, so you will not find photographs after the 1930 census. The first U.S. census was in 1790. It recorded the population as of August 1, 1790, as mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution.

Be careful of many other sites, which will to charge you money for free information.