In each CACCC email we will answer a question (or more!) that is sent to our census team, so please ask away! Contact info at the bottom.
“My husband and I are divorced and live separately. Who counts our kids?”
The short answer is “Wherever the kids sleep on Census Day.” It’s a Wednesday this year, so whichever parent usually has the kids on a Wednesday night should count them. It seems simple, but it can get complicated pretty quickly — i.e. “If our kids are visiting my parents on April 1st, do they get counted at their grandparents’ house?” No, they get counted at the home where they would usually sleep on Wednesday, April 1.
The Census Bureau guidance says: “If you are filling out the census for your home, you should count everyone who is living there as of April 1, 2020. This includes anyone who is living and sleeping there most of the time. If someone is staying in your home on April 1, and has no usual home elsewhere, you should count them in your response to the 2020 Census.”
This includes the grandchild you’ve been taking care of for a couple of months, even if she’s supposed to go back to living with her parents any day now. It includes the friend who is homeless and couch surfing. It includes anyone who’s living with you even if they aren’t on the lease, or aren’t technically supposed to be. The Census does NOT release that information to anyone, so it is safe to include everyone who lives in your home.
It is better to err on the side of over-counting than under-counting — if you aren’t sure if someone should be counted, do it anyway. The Census Bureau is very good at eliminating duplicates, so it’s better for someone to be counted twice than not at all.
The Census Bureau has information on special circumstances, like people who are born or die, move or are visiting etc. on Census Day addressed here.