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The U.S. Constitution requires that every person living in the United States is counted every ten years for the purpose of ensuring fair representation and distribution of resources. The U.S. Census Bureau will carry out the census this spring, and Census Day is on April 1, 2020. The decennial census provides foundational information that will be used to make policy decisions for ten years.

ISBE is doing its part by making sure that schools recognize their important role in this process. Schools and educators are in constant contact with hard to count populations.

2020 Census Information

The 2020 Census self-response deadline has been extended due to COVID-19. We're encouraging everyone to either:​ 

  1. Visit​ to fill out their questionnaire online.
  2. Call our toll free number at (844) 330-2020 (English) or (844) 468-2020 (Spanish) to speak with a live operator.​
  3. Mail in their completed paper copy of the 2020 Census.


 Resources for Hard to Count Populations

One of the biggest challenges in ensuring a complete count is reaching and counting hard to count (HTC) populations. These include young children, immigrants, the homeless, LGBTQ communities and more. Schools interact with HTC populations on a daily basis and are essential in ensuring a complete count.

Immigrant Communities:

The 2020 Census will NOT ask about citizenship and federal law prohibits the reporting of any census answers to immigration, law enforcement, or anyone else. Everyone should fill out the census, regardless of immigration status.

Children birth to five:

Homeless Communities: 

LGBTQ Communities:

Latino Communities: 

 How to Support a Complete Count in Your Community

This how-to flyer empowers schools with strategies and tactics to make sure everyone in their community is counted in the 2020 Census. From emails and letters to families to hosting a Census Night, these actions will help schools lead the way in reaching hard to count populations.

​How to Support a Complete Count in Your Community FlyerPDF Document​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

 Census EDU Summit and Webinar

 Register Your Census Night

The Illinois Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus/COVID-19. In line with this guidance, ISBE has recommended that schools and districts review all gatherings and events where large numbers of people may be present. ISBE regrets that since Census Nights pose the potential for large groups of people to come together, ISBE no longer encourages schools and districts to hold Census Nights. We greatly appreciate your leadership in the State’s 2020 Census complete count efforts.

Thankfully, the U.S. Census Bureau has many resources available that can be sent home with students to share information with their families about the importance of participating in the 2020 Census. A flyer in many languages is available at​. The U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistics in Schools classroom activities can also help raise awareness about the census, and many of these activities can be completed by students at home, if school is not in session. Additional resources can be found at

Individuals may complete the census online, by phone, or by mail beginning April 1. Completing the census in one of these formats means census takers do not need to visit the home.

For the most up to date coronavirus/COVID-19 guidance for schools, please visit ISBE’s COVID-19 resource page.​​

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Contact Information