Alabama Counts logo for 2020 Census

July 11, 2019

2020 Census and Public Libraries

Public libraries across the United States are destined to play a vital role in the 2020 Census. Conducted every 10 years, results from the census help to identify congressional seats, federal funding apportionments, and something especially important to libraries—LSTA Grants to States. With that in mind, Alabama Public Library Service (APLS) wants to help our libraries prepare for the big count.

Begin by downloading a copy of The Libraries’ Guide to the 2020 Census that is available for free download at This document is a handy 20-page resource with essential information library staff need to know about the census and how libraries can help. Be sure to keep a copy for ready reference and share a copy with your board members as they advocate for our libraries—let them know that your library will be involved.

Of course, you should also remember a few important dates relating to the 2020 Census. They include the following:

  • Census Questionnaire Assistance will be available from mid-January to early September 2020.
  • Beginning March 12, 2020, the Census Bureau will mail census materials to 95 percent of homes in the United States. At the same time, the internet self-response period will begin. Households may continue to self-respond through July 31, 2020.
  • April 1, 2020 is Census Day. Residents do not need to wait until April 1 to respond to the count, but everyone considered a “usual resident” of a household needs to be counted by this day.
  • In April, “group quarters” will be counted. This includes residents in college student housing, prisons, military barracks, and nursing homes.
  • Beginning May 2020, households that have not completed the questionnaire after several mailed remembers may receive a phone call or an in-person visit from a Census Bureau employee.
  • The Census Bureau will release population totals and other publicly available data beginning in early 2021.

APLS staff plan to share more information with public libraries during the November 2019 District Meetings scheduled to take place around the state. Meeting dates and locations will be posted on the APLS website at Plan to attend a meeting near you.

The Atlanta Regional Census Bureau Office serves Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Contact information for that office is as follows:

  • Phone:             404-730-3832
  • Toll Free:          800-424-6974
  • TDD:                 404-730-3963  (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf)
  • E-mail: