June 1 target for reopening some town services
News icon




Census 2020: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

In 2020 Cape Elizabeth, along with the rest of the nation, will be participating in the U.S. Census.  Last week (week of Nov. 11, 2019), local government officials met with the U.S. Census Bureau Partnership Specialists to foster a working relationship during this Constitutional enumeration project.  Detailed information can be found on the U.S. Census's website, www.census.gov.

Following are answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding the census:

When will the Census be conducted? Beginning in mid-March 2020, residents will receive a notice in the mail to complete the 2020 Census. Once you receive the mailing, you can complete the Census either online, by phone, or via the U.S. Mail. The Census questionnaire should take less than 5 minutes to complete.

In May 2020, for residents who have not responded, the U.S. Census Bureau will begin following-up by going to individual households to check the status of completion. A specific timeline is below:


Notification Mailed

March 12-20

Invitation to complete 2020 Census

March 16-24

Reminder letter sent from U.S. Census Bureau

March 26- April 3

Reminder postcards mailed

April 8-16

2nd reminder letter and & paper questionnaire

April 20-27

Final reminder postcard before in-person follow-up

Can I refuse to answer a census question? You can skip questions and submit an incomplete census form, and still be included in the head count. Returning a partially filled-out questionnaire may result in a follow-up phone call or visit from a census worker.

When will the 2020 census results be released?  The Census Bureau is expected to announce the new population counts by Dec. 31, 2020. That's the Bureau's deadline for sending to the President numbers for the reapportionment of congressional seats, which goes into effect beginning with the 2022 elections. 2020 census data used for state and local redistricting are set to be released by March 31, 2021. The Bureau is planning to release other new census data beginning in spring 2021.

Why is the census important?  The census is required by the Constitution, which has called for an "actual enumeration" once every decade since 1790. The 2020 population numbers will shape how political power and federal tax dollars are shared in the U.S over the next 10 years. The number of congressional seats and Electoral College votes each state gets are determined by census numbers. They also guide how an estimated $880 billion a year in federal funding is distributed for schools, roads, and other public services in local communities. The demographic data are used by businesses to determine, for example, where to build new supermarkets and by emergency responders to locate injured people after natural disasters.

Are you looking for a temporary, good paying job?  The US Census Team is looking for field agents, enumerators, and office staff to help with this historic task.  Starting pay could be $16 per hour or higher; a great opportunity for college students, retirees, or people looking for a second income.  You can apply online at https://2020census.gov/en/jobs.html or call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) for more information.

U.S. Census workers will NEVER ask for the following information:

  • Social Security numbers
  • Bank or credit card account numbers
  • Money or donations
  • Anything on behalf of a political party

Cape Elizabeth residents with concerns or questions about the U.S. Census may contact any of the following:

  • Clinton Swett, Cape Elizabeth Tax Assessor                                 
    (207) 799-1619
  • Mitchell Stein, Partnership Specialist
    Field Division/New York Regional Census Ctr.
    (207) 317-3831
  • Elizabeth (Betsy) Enright, Partnership Specialist
    Field Division/New York Regional Census Ctr.
    (802) 233-1548