Students will be an important part of the decennial census

First published in Around the O on March 2, 2020.

Census Day is fast approaching and accurate student counts are critical to the future and prosperity of the UO and the greater community.

Beginning in mid-March, households and off-campus residences across Oregon will receive a mailing from the U.S. Census Bureau asking them to take the census online or by phone. Each household will be asked to provide basic information about the people who reside in that household “most of the time” as of April 1, the official Census Day.

Students should fill out the form based on where they are living on April 1. For most, that means entering their residence as Eugene.

For college students, census data affects funding for things like safety, the federal Pell Grant program, student wellness programs, community mental health services and medical assistance programs.

The census form asks 12 questions, which should be completed by each household. The list of questions is available on the United State Census 2020 website.

In 2016 alone, Oregon received more than $13.4 billion in federal assistance, based on data collected during the 2010 census. The census also determines Oregon’s political representation through the number of representatives the state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as the number of electoral votes.

Students should count themselves separately from their families if they are living away from home on April 1. People who are not U.S. citizens count. International students and faculty members should be counted in Eugene as well.

For students living within the residence halls or Graduate Village, University Housing will ensure students are counted and there is no need to fill out the form. Any residents in University Housing apartments or east campus houses must complete the census themselves.

All people living in the U.S. are required by law to complete the census. Census information is confidential and protected by law and in court. Federal law protects census responses. Individual details are not shared with government entities.

The census count ends July 31.

For more information, see the UO’s U.S. census FAQs.

UO Libraries is also providing a resource page with information about how to take the 2020 census, how to find census data, how the data benefits communities and census history. In addition, 2020 census representatives will staff tables in the Erb Memorial Union and Knight Library in late March and April to provide information and assistance.