U.S. Census

What is the Census?

The census is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau every ten years. The Constitution requires that every person in the United States be counted—adults, children and babies, citizens, immigrants, and anyone living in this country.

Data collected is protected by law and cannot be shared with other government agencies. In 2020, the census could be completed online, by telephone, or by mail.

Why is the Census important?

States use census data to determine representation in Congress. States and localities also use census data to plan where health clinics, schools, and roads will be built.

The federal government uses census data to help allocate over $800 billion a year in federal funds. In 2016, Maine received $4.1 billion in federal funds informed by census data.

How do nonprofits play a role in the Census?

Nonprofits of every size and type have and can play a crucial role in making sure the communities they serve are properly represented in the census by making Maine communities count, and, most importantly, nonprofits have the ability to reach hard to count and/or traditionally undercounted communities. Some of our most vulnerable residents can miss out on being counted, thus negatively impacting critical federal funding for the next ten years. You can help #MakeMECount by reminding and encouraging your members and constituents to respond to the Census.

What YOU can do

It is imperative to ensure an accurate count in 2020, so everyone gets the resources and representation they deserve. The populations which tend to have the highest risk of being undercounted are rural communities and communities with people of color. As a result, Maine is at risk of being undercounted, so MAKE MAINE COUNT by doing the following:

  • Fill out your 2020 Census!
    • Online: www.2020census.gov 
    • By Phone: 1-800-923-8282
    • By Mail: fill out your invitation!
  • Encourage others to fill out the census. As trusted messengers, nonprofit organizations play a vital role in helping to increase the response rate. Maine currently has one of the lowest response rates in the nation. 
  • Share graphics or create your own to share through your communications channels. We’ve created a few Maine-specific Census graphics (see below) and Creatives for the Count has a downloadable toolkit and a whole gallery of ideas for you to get inspired by!
  • Stay updated on Maine’s response rates here and if you really want to geek out over numbers, you can view response rates by county, how many were done online, and even see what the rates were for the last Census.

Census Graphics for Maine Nonprofits

Download any of these graphics to share on social media:




Sample Census Messaging 

Copy and edit any of these messages for your own use:

  • Why do we support the #2020Census? The census informs where federal funds go every year for things like our healthcare workers, EMTs and firefighters. Go to 2020Census.gov now to respond!
  • The #2020Census counts everyone who lives in Maine. No matter who you are, we all count! Go to 2020Census.gov and make Maine communities count!
  • There’s still time to shape the future for your community. You can complete the #2020Census now online, by phone, or by mail. Visit 2020Census.gov.
  • No matter where you call home, the #2020Census is your chance to shape the future of your community. Complete your 2020 Census today! 2020Census.gov
  • The #2020Census helps direct billions of dollars of funding for things that your community needs, including roads. Complete the census today. Visit 2020Census.gov
  • All Mainers deserve fair representation. Take the Census to #ShapeYourFuture. Remind family, friends and neighbors – this is one thing we can do collectively right now. Maine Maine communities count and complete your #2020Census today!
  • It’s never been easier to complete the Census – online, phone or mail. Make Maine communities count and shape our future by taking the #2020Census
  • Did you know… data from the #2020Census will be used to help economic development in your community for the next 10 years? Make Maine communities count and complete the #2020Census today!


  • Tag @USCensusBureau in your posts (they’re on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter)
  • Use the Maine-specific hashtags: #MakeMECount and #NonprofitsWorkforME 
  • Use the official campaign hashtags: #2020Census and #ShapeYourFuture

Recent News + Census Info




The impact of COVID-19 on the 2020 Census

It has never been easier to respond on your own, whether online, over the phone or by mail—all without having to meet a census taker. With the flexibility and support of the American people, the Census bureau still aims to achieve a complete and accurate count in 2020.

The latest news: On August 3, 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that it will end field data collection by September 30, 2020. Self-response options will also close on that date to permit the commencement of data processing. 

On September 5, 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau released this text in response to a federal court order.

Updates to 2020 Census Operations


Contact MANP’s Director of Advocacy + Public Affairs, Sarah Skillin Woodard, at swoodard@nonprofitmaine.org.