Survey: Majority of US adults believe 2020 census will ask about citizenship, it won't

Mail from the U.S. Census Bureau (AP)

WASHINGTON (TEGNA) — In about a month, most households in the United States will receive 2020 census questionnaires in the mail. However, there's still a lot of inaccurate information spreading about the census, according to the Pew Research Center.

A majority incorrectly believe a citizenship question is on the questionnaire, and only about one-in-five know they will have the option of answering online, according to the survey released on Thursday.

The survey involved 3,535 U.S. adults, in English and Spanish, shortly before the government’s count of everybody living in the U.S. got underway Jan. 21 in Alaska.

Here's a breakdown of what Pew Research Center's survey found:

  • 95 percent of adults said they’ve heard of the census
  • Two-thirds of adults said the census is very important to the country
  • About 78 percent said they intend to fill out a census form

The survey also found that many Americans don't realize that the census will not ask about citizenship or religion.

Participation in the census is expected to be average, according to the survey. Some 72 percent said responding is a civic responsibility, and about 70 percent of the people involved in the survey said they want to be counted. An impressive number of people surveyed, 87 percent, said an accurate count was important for the country or their local communities.

However, distrust in the government and a lack of knowledge are among the reasons some Americans may not answer the census.

Every household in the U.S. will have the option of responding to the 2020 census either online, by mail, or by phone. Depending on how likely an area is to respond online, households will receive either an invitation encouraging them to respond online or an invitation along with a paper questionnaire.

Click here to learn more about the 2020 census.