We are approaching the September 30th deadline (as of 9/21/2020) to participate in a critical opportunity to influence how our communities are viewed, funded, represented, and invested in for the next ten years. That opportunity is the 2020 Census.
By definition, the Census is a constitutionally mandated count of every person living in the United States. More importantly, it is an opportunity to gather data to promote education equity, economic equity, and well-informed decisions.
Children, communities of color, and low-income communities are historically undercounted communities in the Census. When a household does not respond online, by phone, by mail, or when Census takers come to our homes, the Census Bureau may rely on administrative records and modeling to count them. While these methods may be effective, self-responding is a way for us to directly inform the narrative about the size of our communities and influence decisions, policies, and practices in areas including:
- Resources and funding: The federal government uses the data for the formulaic distribution of hundreds of billions of dollars in annual funding for programs (e.g., Title I, Head Start, special education, SNAP, housing assistance programs, etc.) and geographic placement of resources (e.g., libraries, emergency services).
- Business investments and jobs: Businesses use the information to inform where to open locations and create jobs.
- Political representation: The population estimates influence the number of congressional seats each state holds, and representatives’ actions may impact education and economic mobility actions and funding in our states.
- Research: Researchers use the data to develop insights that inform decisions made by policymakers and service providers.
Despite the misinformation around the Census, the survey is confidential and no personally identifiable information can be released for 72 years. Informational resources are available in 59 languages.
Take a few minutes to support the fair resourcing and representation of your communities today — respond online at my2020census.gov, by phone, or by mail and encourage your communities to do the same before September 30th.
Census Cuts All Counting Efforts Short By A Month, Hansi Lo Wang, NPR, August 2020
The pandemic may leave communities of color undercounted in the census — and cost them billions, Donna Owens, Vox, May 2020
Counting for Dollars: The Role of the 2020 Census in the Geographic Distribution of Federal Funds, George Washington Institute of Public Policy, April 2020
10 Census Facts That Bust Common Myths About The 2020 U.S. Head Count, Hansi Lo Wang, NPR, March 2020
Federal Laws That Protect Census Confidentiality, Kelly Percival, Brennan Center for Social Justice, August 2019