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Being counted in the 2020 census: What students need to know

UW-Eau Claire and UW-Eau Claire – Barron County students, it’s time to be counted!

Under the U.S. Constitution, a census of our country’s population — including college students — must happen once every 10 years, and 2020 is one of those years.

Whether you live on or off campus, it’s important that you (1) are counted, and (2) are counted in the place where you normally live during the academic year, even if you are temporarily staying elsewhere while UW-Eau Claire is closed because of COVID-19. For most of our students, that means your address in Eau Claire, Rice Lake or surrounding areas.

Why should I be counted in the U.S. census?

There are at least a few reasons:

  • Results of the census will impact funding for critical college student programs and planning in our local communities.
  • Statistics from the 2020 census will help inform decisions about how to improve college campuses; school and student safety; mental health services; student wellness programs; the Federal Pell Grant Program; adult education grants; agriculture, science and engineering education; and Medicaid.
  • Census statistics are used to support community initiatives, to demonstrate need to help nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups, and to inform decisions about whether to expand college facilities.

How do I make sure I’m counted?

Depending on where you live most of the time as a UW-Eau Claire or UW-Eau Claire – Barron County student, here’s what you need to know:

If you normally live on campus, in a residence hall or other university-sponsored housing: Don’t worry — you will be counted by the university or college that you attend. That means you don’t need to do anything — other than tell your parents not to include you in their household response.

If you normally live in an apartment or house off campus: You or one of your roommates will need to respond for everyone living at your school address. You can respond to the census online, by phone or by mail.

  • If you’re around to get your mail, watch for your invitation from the Census Bureau.  Invitations to respond were mailed out to all households beginning March 12 — yours should be arriving soon if it hasn’t come yet. The Census Bureau will also send multiple reminders in case you miss the first invitation.
  • Your invitation to respond will have a unique Census ID that you can enter when you respond online. However, you can still respond online without your unique Census ID. If you’re not around to get your mail, no worries. Just go online to and provide your address instead.
  • One person from a shared apartment or house should fill out the census on behalf of the entire household and include information on everyone who lives there (including family or roommates). That means you’ll be asked about your roommates’ birthdays, how they want to identify their race, etc., so chat or text about it before you begin to respond.
  • If you can’t get in touch with your roommates to verify whether another roommate has already responded for you, please respond and include everyone who normally lives with you. The Census Bureau has a way to identify duplicate responses and would rather eliminate duplicates than miss you or your roommates entirely.
  • Census takers will follow up with households that don’t respond to collect responses in person. In neighborhoods around colleges and universities, this is scheduled to begin on April 23, before the end of the spring semester when students may leave for another residence.

If you normally live with your parents during the school year: Your parents should include you when they respond to the census. Be sure to encourage them to respond online, by phone or by mail and include everyone who usually lives in your home.

International students and students who have recently studied abroad:

  • International students attending UW-Eau Claire or UW-Eau Claire – Barron County should be counted at the on- or off-campus residence where they live and sleep most of the time. (Refer to the same the guidance above regarding how on-campus and off-campus students are counted.)
  • If you are a UW-Eau Claire student who has returned from study abroad, you are counted where you are living in the U.S. on April 1, 2020.

Additional helpful links

Please be sure you are counted in the 2020 census!