Census Bureau Clarifies How it Will Count Overseas Federal Employees in 2020 Census

This won’t help today’s genealogists but may be useful to future researchers. The Census Bureau has published a memo in the Federal Register that outlines residence criteria and residence situations that determine who should be counted and where they should be counted. Federal employees working overseas are specifically mentioned in this memo.

The memo specifically states:

Overseas military and civilian employees of the U.S. government — The 2020 Census will count military and civilian employees of the U.S. government who are temporarily deployed overseas on Census Day at their usual home address in the United States, as part of the resident population, instead of their home state of record. Military and civilian employees of the U.S. government who are stationed or assigned overseas on Census Day, as well as their dependents living with them, will continue to be counted in their home state of record for apportionment purposes only.

Overseas federal employees who are not U.S. citizens — The 2020 Census will count any non- U.S. citizens who are military or civilian employees of the U.S. government who are deployed, stationed, or assigned overseas on Census Day in the same way as U.S. citizens who are included in the federally affiliated overseas count.

This is a change since the 2010 census. You can read the full Census Bureau memo at: https://www.scribd.com/document/370985820/2020-Census-Memo-Residence-Criteria-and-Residence-Situations

The memo seems to contradict various rumors and speculations regarding whether the 2020 U.S. census will be conducted at all, even though it is required by the U.S. Constitution. See http://bit.ly/2FYKLRc and a number of other online services with stories about the funding and organizational problems of the next scheduled census.


With all of the information available today about people the census data release should be cut from 70 years to 20 or 30 years.


Do they enumerate regular citizens who live outside the US? If so, how do they do that?


    It’s complicated. The main points I gathered from a quick review of the following website:
    The Constitutional purpose of the census is to apportion representatives and electoral college electors among the states.

    Non-military US citizens permanently overseas are not apportioned and are not represented in apportionment of electors and representatives among the states. For a long time they weren’t counted at all. Then for a few censuses in the middle-1900s they were – on a voluntary basis, and then (up to now?) weren’t and aren’t.

    Click to access techn62-1.pdf


    This one is even a better summary. Although both are over 20 years old.



    Thank you. We are non military, live outside the US. We maintain a US address but won’t be there in April. At this point we can only vote in Federal elections, not the local ones, so it makes sense not to count us as we’re not really represented in a proportional sense.
    The Census data, however, is used for much more than representation. But as I ponder this I’m thinking you’d need to be in the US to benefit from those other uses.

    Thanks for the information. Another piece of the emigration puzzle.


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