Answering Census Questions for College Students

From the Mississippi Census website

If you’re a college student who has questions about the 2020 U.S. Census in light of being in a new location, we’ve got you covered. Our top priority is making sure that all college students are counted.

Since most students are not currently on campus or otherwise at school due to the coronavirus pandemic, they understandably have questions about how to correctly complete their census questionnaires. Census day is April 1, and it’s important to be counted by then if at all possible. You will still be able to be counted after that date, if need be.

The rule of thumb is that you need to be counted in the state in which you physically attend college. For example, if your parents live in Texas, and that’s where you return home for holidays and summer, you still need to be counted in Mississippi if you are enrolled in college and live and attend classes in Mississippi. That’s because in general, the U.S. Census says they want you to be counted in the state in which you spend the “majority of the year.” Most college students spend about 8 – 10 months at university staying in their on or off-campus housing.

In other words, you should be counted at the address where you live “most of the time.” International students attending college in the U.S. should also fill out a Census form listing their college address.

To keep things as simple as possible, we’re going to breakdown what you need to do:

On-Campus / Group Housing Students (such as those in a dorm, residence hall, fraternity or sorority house)

If you’re a college student who is currently living in some form of either on-campus or otherwise group housing – such as in a dorm, residence hall, fraternity or sorority house – the United States Census Bureau will be working with your university to make sure that you are represented in the 2020 U.S. Census count – you don’t have to do anything!

Your Census information will be filled out by whoever is currently in charge of your group housing: such as a Floor Administrator, Residential Advisor, a House Director, etc.

Off-Campus Housing Students (such as those in an apartment, duplex, house, etc.)

if you are a student who “normally” lives in “non-group quarters” such as an off-campus apartment or house while attending college, you and your roommate(s), including non-students, will need to coordinate with each other to fill out one form (online preferably) for the household using your school address (not your parents’ address or your non-college home address). You should be counted at the address where you live “most of the time.” International students attending college in the U.S. should also fill out a Census form listing their college address.

Go to https://mscensus2020.org/ and click the blue “Complete My Census Now” button on the page. If you have an off-campus apartment, etc. (not group quarters), the U.S. Census Bureau and Mississippi encourage you to complete your census by April 1. You DO NOT need a Census ID: simply skip that step and hit: If you do not have a Census ID, click here. Enter your school address for your non-group quarters while at school and list all roommates. Here is an official publication about completing your census without an ID.

ALL College Students
Just remember, college students currently living at home with family: your parents should NOT count you on their census. You need to complete your own census. The census form even starts with a reminder that certain people, including college students living away from home while attending school, should not be included on a household form (even if they happen to be home on Census Day, April 1).

Again, you can go online now and complete your Census. Visit this link: MSCensus2020.org and hit the blue button: “Complete My Census Now.” That will lead you to the U.S. Census bureau portal to fill it out without an ID. Be sure to coordinate with your roommates and use the address of your off-campus housing when at school.

We know that coronavirus has caused for confusing times, which is why we hope this helped clear things up for you. If you have any more questions, please feel free to call us at (601) 345-1420 or via email. 


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