GIFC: Census 2020

​​Last month, we convened in Washington, DC for our Winter 2020 Policy Meeting. Read on for a re-cap of our panel on the 2020 Census, including linked resources to help your city achieve a complete count.

Census 2020​

The Census deeply impacts communities by informing policymaking, influencing political representation and determining funding allocations and federal reimbursement levels. Hard to count populations – especially low-income individuals, communities of color, and children – are most threatened by a Census undercount. This Census cycle brings unique challenges: security and access issues associated with digital response, heightened government distrust, disinformation, and advertising competition with a presidential primary.

Cities are rising to meet these challenges, and attendees at our Winter Policy Meeting heard from experts on addressing these. Philly Count’s Stephanie Reid shared Philadelphia’s organizing model to support community leaders and empower trusted messengers for outreach to its hard-to-count populations (and shared their planning documents and communications materials for you to reference and make your own here). Dawn Begay, from the City of Albuquerque, shared outreach approaches for their hard to count rural and tribal populations – from providing free transit to creating hyperlocal messaging campaigns. Both cities have created Robust Complete Count Committees.

Attendees heard from Census expert Terri Ann Lowenthal on Census information updates. And Data & Society’s Emma Margolin presented the challenges posed by disinformation campaigns and what city leaders can do to diffuse them.

Looking for suggestions on immediate city actions to prepare for the 2020 Census? Some recommendations from the panel experts included:

  • Post all Census resources on your city’s website to fill data voids.
  • Ensure your city leaders discuss the Census at every public event.
  • Incorporate Census messaging into the work of all city departments and agencies. For instance, Human Services staff can offer information on the importance of counting young children during home visits.
  • Join the CitiesCount Census Google group to network with your peers.

Access more ideas and best practices from the Winter 2020 meeting presentations here, as well as resources from the briefing book here.