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Your census questions answered

In mid-March, homes across the country started to receive invitations to complete the 2020 Census. Once your invitation arrives, you should respond for your home in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail.

Update: March 23, 2000

  • While COVID-19 may have disrupted where you are living on April 1, the U.S. Census Bureau has provided guidance on how college students should file their Census forms. Click on "What if I am a Virginia Tech student?" below.

Frequently Asked Questions

The 2020 census helps ensure that our community receives its fair share of government funding. Census data directly affect how much money is allocated for infrastructure: such as neighborhood improvements, emergency preparedness and disaster recovery, public health, education, transportation, senior services, and much more.

The 2020 materials will be mailed to your residence beginning in March 2020. You’ll have the option of responding online, by phone, or by mail.

The U.S. Census Bureau will ask the following questions about the household :

  • If the housing unit is owned or rented
  • Telephone number
  • How many people live in the residence
  • If any additional people who lived at the residence on April 1, 2020, were not included

The census will also ask each household member the following:

  • Name
  • Sex
  • Age/date of birth
  • Relationship to the person who owns or rents this residence
  • Hispanic origin
  • Race
  • Does this person sometimes live or stay somewhere else

Yes. You can respond online in English and in 12 additional languages: Spanish, Chinese (Simplified), Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Japanese.

The online questionnaire conforms with the latest web accessibility guidelines. There will also be a video in American Sign Language to guide you through responding online.

You can respond by phone in English, Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese) Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese and Japanese.

The paper form can be completed in English or Spanish.

The U.S. Census counts students at their colleges and universities. Because of the disruptions related to COVID-19, we must adopt a different approach to assure that on-campus residents, off-campus students, and international students are counted at their campus or local address.  The following information is based on guidance from the U.S. Census Bureau.

A 2020 census form will be delivered or mailed to your house or apartment in March 2020. All students living at the address on April 1 are considered one household, so one form should include information about all the people living at that address. If you live in a dormitory, residence hall, a hotel being used for overflow campus housing, or a sorority or fraternity house, you will have the option of being part of an eResponse that Housing and Residence Life would file on your behalf or you may submit your own Census questionnaire online.

For students who are away from Blacksburg due to the COVID-19 pandemic

We have received guidance from the U.S. Census Bureau in regards to university housing in light of the COVID-19 situation. In short, you will count as if you are still at your university residence hall address. In most cases, students living away from home at school should be counted at school, even if they are temporarily elsewhere due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students should be counted where they live and sleep most of the time.

If your family has already included you on the Census form submitted at home, Census officials ask that you complete an individual form based on your residence hall address. They will cross-reference responses to remove duplicates.

For on-campus residents (including those at the Inn at Virginia Tech and HIE Student Housing)

Housing and Residence Life (HRL) and Student Affairs at Virginia Tech are cooperating with local town, county, state, and U.S. Census Bureau officials to participate in the complete count of everyone in the United States. It is critical to the university that all students get counted as part of the 2020 US Census.  Every Hokie counts! 

Normally, HRL would distribute paper forms to every resident in early April to complete the residence hall enumerations, which are considered as Group Quarters.  Because of the distruptions related to COVID-19, we will adopt a different approach for on-campus residents that is based on guidance from the U.S. Census Bureau.

No matter whether you are on campus or elsewhere, you will be counted as if you are still at your university residence hall address. This includes students housed at HIE Student Housing and The Inn at Virginia Tech.

We need your help to make sure you are counted here in Blacksburg.

The most efficient way to assist you is for Housing and Residence Life to transfer your data to  the U.S. Census Bureau through a secure process. However, we need your express permission to do so, in compliance with Virginia law. 

Here is the data that would be submitted on your behalf:
- Name (legal name)
- Sex (documented/birth gender)
- Date of birth
- Age on April 1, 2020
- Race
- Whether you are of Hispanic origin
- Alternate address where you live or stay when not at a group quarters facility

Each on-campus resident will be asked for permission to be included in the eResponse, but you are not required to so.   

To provide permission, or let us know that you are not providing that permission, visit the StarRez Portal, login, and then select the direct 2020 US Census eResponse Authorization link on the main page or find the form under Online Forms.

Students are asked to respond to this request by 11:59 p.m., Sunday, April 5, 2020.

If you choose to file your Census form yourself.

As you start the online response at, you will be asked for a Census ID number. If you do not have a Census ID number, use the link below that states "If you do not have a Census ID, click here." This link will allow you to specify your residence hall address and complete the form.

For off-campus students

All off-campus addresses will receive census forms. Students living off campus will receive an initial postcard and other follow-up materials by mail, and then later by phone or in-person visits by a census taker if the initial request is not submitted. Students who live in off-campus housing, such as a rental apartment or house, must to respond to the census themselves. They should not count on their landlord to fill out a 2020 Census questionnaire.

Residents of every housing unit should work together to fill out one questionnaire per household/apartment unit. They should include all roommates (non-students, too) who live and sleep at the address most of the time as of the Census Day, Wednesday, April 1, 2020.

If you are not residing in your off-campus housing due to the COVID-19 pandemic:

If you are not able to get everyone together to complete the form, you can use the directions below to complete individual forms. 

Most households have received a 12-digit Census ID number to use to fill out the Census form and to speed processing; however, you may complete the Census form without that ID number.

As you start the online response at, you will be asked for a Census ID number. If you do not have a Census ID number, use the link below that states "If you do not have a Census ID, click here." This link will allow you to specify your address and complete the form.

For international students

Virginia Tech is lucky to have a vibrant international student community.  During census activities, international students often ask if they should participate in the process.  The answer is YES!  

The United State Census 2020 counts everyone currently living in the United States on Census Day, on-campus, off-campus, domestic or international. Each and every Hokie counts! 

The census form for 2020 does not include questions about nationality or citizenship. As a student learning and living at Virginia Tech, we encourage you to submit your census form. The data you submit helps support the resources and programs that you may use during your time here or for future international students who join our community.

Questionnaire Assistance Centers (QAC) are available at the following locations.

In order to complete the Census you must have a specific PIN that will be mailed to you. Please make sure you have this PIN before arriving at the QAC.


QAC Hours

Blacksburg Library
200 Miller Street

M-Th: 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Fri & Sat: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sun: 1 -5 p.m.

 Blacksburg Community Center
725 Patrick Henry Drive

Every day 6 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Staff Assistance, M-F noon - 4pm.

Christiansburg Recreation Center
1600 N. Franklin St.

Mon & Wed: 8:30 a.m. - noon

Christiansburg Public Library
125 Sheltman Road

M-Th: 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Fri & Sat: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sun: 1 -5 p.m.

Meadowbrook Library
267 Alleghany Spring Road Shawsville

M-Th: 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Fri & Sat: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sun: 1 -5 p.m.


For General Questions

Visit the Census Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, or call 800-923-8282.

For information on services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing: Call the TTY number at 800-877-8339 to reach the Federal Relay Service.

Census 2020 committees across the commonwealth

Census 2020 committees in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area