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Residents encouraged to complete 2021 annual resident listing

The initiative aims to count all Boston residents and ensure equitable distribution of City services. A first-in-the-nation childcare survey will also continue to be conducted alongside the annual census.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Election Department announced the start of the City of Boston's Annual Resident Census, which is kicking off today with the first batch of mailings being sent to households. The 2021 Boston Annual Resident Listing, as the initiative is officially known, attempts to count all individuals who live in the City of Boston, and Boston residents age 17 and older are asked to complete the census for their household. An accurate count of residents helps the City ensure that municipal resources are distributed equitably to all, and the census plays an important role in helping officials maintain an up to date roll of active voters as well as a log of residents who are eligible for jury duty. The latter is crucial to ensuring that everyone has access to a fair jury trial.

For the second year, the optional City of Boston Childcare Survey will be conducted alongside the Annual Resident Listing. Created by the Mayor's Office of Women's Advancement in 2019, this first-in-the-nation approach to understanding childcare in Boston gives parents and guardians an opportunity to share direct feedback with the City about their early education and care needs. The survey's purpose is to better understand how families access and experience care for their children, ages five and under. This year's survey findings will offer especially important feedback on how families adjusted to the challenges posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Residents with young children are encouraged to complete the Boston Childcare Survey and return it along with their completed Boston Annual Resident Listing form.

"The annual resident census and the optional childcare survey are among the easiest and most important ways for people to stay civically engaged," said Mayor Walsh. "The feedback we get directly from residents helps us shape how we deliver critical city services so that we can continue to improve the lives of everyone living in Boston. It's quick and easy to participate, and I encourage everyone to do their part by completing the surveys."

The Boston Childcare Survey asks parents and guardians about their preferences and any barriers that may affect a parent or guardian's ability to choose their preferred method of childcare. Accessibility, affordability, and quality of care tend to be barriers that people identify, and City officials are able to use survey responses to tailor solutions to specific challenges. 

Completed responses to both the mandatory Boston Annual Resident Listing and the optional Boston Childcare Survey can be returned free of charge using the prepaid envelope that is provided with the mailing. All households in Boston can expect to receive their mailing within the next two weeks, and the Election Department requests that residents complete and return the forms within seven days of receipt.

In addition to returning the completed forms to the Election Department using the prepaid envelope that is provided to all households as part of the mailing, residents have three other options for participating.

  • Respond online: Visit to respond to the Boston Annual Resident Listing. Translations are available online in Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese. The website includes a link to the optional Childcare Survey.
  • Printable mail-in version: If for any reason one's household did not receive the Boston Annual Resident Listing or if the mailing was misplaced, a printable version is available online. For more details, visit or call (617) 635-8683 (VOTE).
  • Call the Election Department: Residents can call (617) 635-8683 (VOTE), Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., to speak to a representative about completing the census.

Residents that do not respond to the 2021 Boston Annual Resident Listing will become inactive on the voter registration roll. People can check their voting status here. However, completing the Annual Resident Listing does not register one to vote. Residents can register to vote online, in-person at the Election Department, or by calling (617) 635-8683 (VOTE) to have a form mailed to them.

For more information, contact the Boston Election Department online at

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