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Counting all military service members and their families in 2020

Posted Feb. 26, 2020

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a military-outfitted parent holds a child's hand
Military family members and veterans living in the United States will receive invitations to respond to the census at their homes.

For cities and states across the country, active duty military, veterans and their families are an important part of community life — whether they live on base, in nearby towns or are deployed or stationed overseas.

But military families may not realize just how important they are when it comes to the 2020 Census. They should know that the 2020 Census will have an impact on their communities’ political representation and billions of dollars in funding annually for the next 10 years.

At Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, there are approximately 40 separate commands with 10,000 active duty military, guardsmen, reservists and civilian employees.

State, local and federal officials will use data from the 2020 Census to determine funding for infrastructure and critical public services such as hospitals, schools, emergency response services, and road maintenance and construction. All are services that military members, veterans and their families use while they live in a community.

In mid-March, all households in the United States, including those of service members, veterans and their families living in the United States, will receive an invitation to respond to the 2020 Census. For the first time, people can respond to the census online, by phone or by mail.

The online option could be particularly popular with enlisted active duty military members, more than half of whom are younger than 25 years old.

How military members respond to the 2020 Census

Most military households are responsible for responding to the 2020 Census on their own if they are stationed or living in the United States. People will be counted where they live and sleep most of the time as of April 1, 2020 (Census Day). Remember to count everyone who lives in the household, including young children, newborns and any relatives or others.

People will be counted in a military barracks in the United States if that’s where they’re staying on April 1, 2020. A military point of contact, sworn to protect privacy, will distribute individual questionnaires, collect them when complete and return them to the Census Bureau. This is similar to how people living in other group quarter facilities, such as college and university student housing, respond.

The same procedure applies for personnel on a military vessel with a homeport in the United States. Personnel do not have to fill out a questionnaire if deployed or on a military vessel with a homeport outside the United States on Census Day.

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