Home Madison Five Dangerous Myths About the 2020 U.S. Census

Five Dangerous Myths About the 2020 U.S. Census


Special promotional content provided by the City of Madison Complete Count Committee:

Every 10 years the federal government is required to count the people living in the United States. When the count is accurate, people benefit because their communities get federal funding to help with the services they rely on. An accurate count is also used to determine legislative districts and representation. 

When there is an undercount, communities miss out on federal funding and people lose representation in government. In 2020, because of deliberate misinformation, changing dates, and the pandemic, participation in this year’s Census is low and the count is likely to be incomplete. Unfortunately, some of the most historically undercounted populations are people of color.

Here are common myths about the Census, and the actual facts. Please share the truth with your friends and neighbors and encourage them to fill out the Census. We all count.

MYTH #1: Filling out the Census exposes details of your private life.

FACT: By law, individuals’ personal information collected through the U.S. Census cannot be shared with immigration officials, law enforcement, landlords, creditors, employers, or anyone else outside of the Census Bureau. 

MYTH #2: You must qualify to vote to fill out the Census.

FACT: You do not need to be able to vote to fill out the Census. Anyone living in the U.S. should be counted. It’s important every person in Madison is included regardless of their race, language, or age.

MYTH #3: Census data doesn’t make a difference to me.

FACT: Census data is used to determine state and federal funding for transportation, affordable housing, childcare, and other community services we all use. Over $2,000 per person in Federal funding is distributed using census data every year.  

MYTH #4: The Census doesn’t matter to my neighborhood.

FACT: Every neighborhood needs to be counted. The NAACP created the hashtag #MakeBlackCount to show the importance of counting everyone. Participating in the U.S. Census is a way to collect information about how truly diverse Madison is. With an accurate headcount, we can better invest in the services we need to enhance the lives of people who live here. 

MYTH #5: It’s too late for me to fill out the Census.


FACT: The Census count is open until September 30. Go online at my2020census.gov or call 844-330-2020 to complete the census – it takes less than 10 minutes. Census workers are also knocking on the doors of houses and apartments that haven’t completed the Census. When you answer the door, they will help you complete the Census and be counted.

Misinformation about the Census is dangerous to our communities, our neighborhoods, our families, and our future. That’s why so many local organizations have worked so hard to make sure everyone is counted. We thank them for their help and urge you to make sure you and everyone you know is counted before September 30.

Complete Count Committee members: Juli Aulik, Nina Gehan, Brenda González, Barbara Harrington-McKinney, Corinda Rainey-Moore

City Alders: Keith Furman, Barbara Harrington-McKinney, Patrick W. Heck, Lindsay Lemmer, Arvina Martin, Donna V. Moreland, Michael J. Tierney, Michael E. Verveer

Community Partners: 

Centro Hispano of Dane County – Karen Menéndez Coller, PhD, Executive Director Latino Academy of Workforce Development – Baltazar de Anda Santana, Executive DirectorLatino Chamber of Commerce – Xochilth Garcia, Membership and Office Manager