I noticed this today on FamilySearch – Why Is the Census Important?: https://www.familysearch.org/blog/en/why-is-the-census-important/. The information asked by the 2020 census won’t be as genealogically relevant compared to many earlier censuses. I completed mine online yesterday. The amount of questions asked was a lot less than the last few censuses.
Under current law, the census will become available 72 years after the census day, April 1, 2020. The next census to become available will be the 1950 census on April 1, 2022. However, it will take a fair number of months before the major genealogy companies – Ancestry, MyHeritage, FamilySearch, etc. will have them indexed.
Each company does its own indexing so if you don’t find a living relative on one genealogy site, check the others. I didn’t find my great-grandmother on the Ancestry site after the 1940 census was fully indexed. I went to FamilySearch and found her. Once I knew the page from FamilySearch, I found her on Ancestry. They had mistranscribed her last name. I added a note showing the correct name which is searchable.
A census is an important record that societies use to make effective decisions. Censuses influence policies that impact the everyday lives of real people, including decisions made in education, transportation, health, housing, and even environmental preservation.
But the significance of censuses goes beyond that—censuses can help you piece together your family story. After all, each census entry is a story: a new birth in the family, a tragic loss since the last census, a location or occupation that shaped a family or an individual’s entire life. (Here’s how you can use U.S. census records for family research.)
What the 2020 Census Can Do for You
Although 2020 census will be a significant record for your future family, it also provides immediate benefits. The 2020 census gives officials and businesses an accurate idea of the lay of the land and needs of the people. Through this knowledge, officials can know how better to serve the community and provide benefits, including the following:
- Better sanitation.
- Businesses that fill a need in a community.
- Effective transportation.
- Money allocated to the right areas.
- Schools and hospitals built and maintained.
- Construction for needed highways.
- Organized housing districts.
How to Participate in the Census
This year, every household in the United States will get an invitation to participate in the census. You can respond to the census in various ways, depending on what you feel most comfortable with:
Record-keeping and storytelling have always been important, whether it was by scrawling on a cave wall, writing on a scroll, or singing out loud through generations. A census is one way to keep a record of our own story as a society.
FamilySearch’s work in genealogy has made us especially grateful for those who took advantage of the census in the past. By participating in the 2020 census, you can add to that legacy.