The federal government will conduct the 2020 Census this year and the City of Rockville wants community members to help meet the goal of counting everyone once – and only once – in the right place.

Participating in the census impacts Rockville. Compiled every 10 years, census data is used by the government to define representative boundaries for congressional districts, state legislative districts and voting precincts, and for enforcing voting rights and civil rights legislation. It also determines how billions of dollars in federal funding are distributed for things like health care, senior centers, jobs, roads, schools and businesses.

Census responses are safe and secure. The Census Bureau is required by law to protect any personal information it collects and keep it strictly confidential. Information cannot be shared and cannot be used by law enforcement, or to determine an individual’s eligibility for government benefits. It cannot be used against you in any way – not by the FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or any court. Census workers take a lifetime oath to protect personal information, with a penalty of up to $250,000 and/or up to five years in prison for any violation of this oath.

All Rockville community members are encouraged to complete the census questionnaire by responding online, by phone or by mail. All data submitted online is encrypted to prevent hacking and protect privacy, using the highest and most recent standards for protecting personal information from cyberthreats. It is safe to provide answers and know that they will only be used to paint a statistical portrait of our nation and community.

For more about the census’s data protection and privacy program, visit www.census.gov/privacy.

For more information about the census in Montgomery County, visit montgomerycountymd.gov/census.