Why An Accurate Census Count Is Important For Montana


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For every Montana resident counted, the Census estimates the state will receive nearly $2,000 per person each year in federal funding. The $20,000 per person coming into the state over the next decade is used in every Montana county for medical assistance, educational programs, need-based support, infrastructure, highway planning and over 300 other programs. Spending just a few minutes to complete your Census form will help ensure Montana gets its fair share of federal funding. Filling out the form is quick, easy, safe and important.


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Apportionment and Redistricting

Census data is used to define legislative districts, establish school districts and guide decision making in many other functional areas of government. As mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the Census is used to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Montana is one of the states on the cusp of gaining an additional congressperson, so getting a complete count is more important than ever.


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Census data is used to inform community decisions. Think of it like a snapshot of who we are as a community every decade. Data for each area are crucial to many planning decisions, such as where to provide services for seniors, where to build new roads and schools and where to locate job training centers. Census data is also used by organizations to obtain grant funding for key programs helping Montanans.


10 Minutes for 10 Years

It takes just 10 minutes to answer simple questions that will shape your community for the next 10 years. 

How to Take the Census

By mid-March 2020 households will receive a letter by mail or left at their door with an invitation to participate in the Census and instructions on how to fill out your form. A sample of the invitation can be found HERE

Households include houses, apartments, cabins, mobile homes—pretty much any place where people live in the Montana. In areas where most of housing units do not have mail delivered to their physical location, census workers will leave questionnaire packages at every identified housing unit. The census process also includes special provisions to count people who are homeless and those in other types of living quarters, such as college dorms, military barracks, ships, prisons, nursing homes, and homeless shelters.

Filling out the Census Is Quick Easy and Safe. In 2020, households will have three options to respond. 

ways to respond

Online – Respond online using the internet or smartphone with the instructions received in the mail or in the packet materials left at your address.

Phone – Respond over the telephone by calling the census call center listed on the census card.

Mail – you can fill out the census questionnaire in English or Spanish and mail the form, postage-free, back to the Census Bureau. If you need the form in another languages, forms are available on-line in seven different languages.

If you do not receive a U.S. Census postcard in the mail with your unique I.D. number, you can still self-respond to the census questionnaire using the U.S. Census Bureau URL which will be posted as soon as it becomes available. In May of 2020, the Census Bureau will begin following up with households that have not responded.

A sample of the 2020 Census questionnaire can be found HERE

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Click HERE to view hundreds of locations where the Census can be taken. From public libraries, to health centers, to foodbanks, and businesses throughout the community there will be computers and internet access available to fill out the form and be counted.

Becoming a "Be Counted" site is easy, there's just a few simple steps to follow.

  • Have a building that the public and people with disabilities can access such as a business, organization headquarters, community center or at a public event.
  • Provide access to a computer, tablet, or phone from mid- March to early May.
  • Have Internet that requires password protected wifi.
  • Make sure all software is current and internet browsers are up to date.
  • Have someone available to help operate the computer. *Remember only Census Bureau employees may collect responses from individuals since they are sworn for life under the law to keep an individual's responses confidential. Assistant should not enter a person's responses for them or watch them enter their responses. 

To become a "Be Counted" Site Click HERE