Federal Laws That Protect Census Confidentiality

The 2020 Census is rapidly approaching. A fair and accurate census depends on every person responses remaining confidential. The Census Bureau has repeatedly affirmed the importance of confidentiality to its mission. Congress and numerous presidential administrations have similarly long recognized the centrality of strict confidentiality to getting a complete count. Nevertheless, in todays environment, trust in the federal government is at an extreme low, especially among communities of color. Many people are fearful that their responses to the 2020 Census might be used against them or their families for immigration or law enforcement purposes.1 Any effort to use census data in this way, however, would run headlong into robust laws that protect the confidentiality of census data and would trigger a fierce legal fight.