The census determines congressional representation and the distribution of an estimated $675 billion in federal funds. After a big push for the 2010 census, Philadelphia showed its first population growth in decades, which helped it get $3.3 billion in funding.
The new head of the census office, Stephanie Reid, hastened to assure non-citizens that census information is legally protected and cannot be used against them.
"We cannot let misinformation deprive of us of our fair share of federal funds," she added.
Reid said the office will be hiring staff to work in communities to assure a full count.
Census Assistant Regional Director Fernando Armstrong also sought to ease concerns.
"The census is confidential. The information will not be shared with law enforcement or any other agency," he noted.
The question still may not appear. A judge has ordered it removed, but the Trump administration has asked the Supreme Court to reinstate it.