Census 2020

The ten question Census will be largely digital for the first time, and there are a lot of communities and populations that stand to be left out of the count, including traditionally hard-to-count populations like New Americans, and people with limited access to internet and limited experience with technology.

There are a lot of things tied to the Census, including the basic tenets of democracy and representation in our State and Federal government, and, what resonates more with people in studies, state and federal funds received locally; young families are more likely to participate in the Census when they find out it affects funding for their community. Federal funding for Medicaid, local schools, highway planning and construction, CHIP, WIC, SNAP, HEAP, and more are distributed using formulas based on the decennial Census. Similar formulas based on the Census or based on formulas based on the Census are used to allocate state funding for programs like the Community Development Block Grant Program, and Census data is used for planning purposes by businesses and nonprofits. An inaccurate count will result in lost funding, which helps offset state and local funds, and reduced representation at the state and federal levels.

Libraries can help ensure a complete count by partnering with Community Based Organizations, local governments, and anyone interested in getting the word out about the Census. Libraries can also provide support as tech hubs and trusted organizations in their community.

Road to the 2020 Census[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]


  • Libraries Guide to the 2020 Census – The American Library Association’s guide to the Census and libraries’ role.
  • 2020 Census Complete Count Committee Guide – Complete Count Committees (CCC) are volunteer committees established by tribal, state, and local governments and community leaders or organizations to increase awareness and motivate residents to respond to the 2020 Census.
  • Complete Count Committee Map – Find your local Complete Count Committee. Email census.cccmap.list@census.gov to get your CCC on the map.
  • Promotional Materials and Guidelines – The United States 2020 Census Brand Guidelines is a new guide that introduces the 2020 Census logo and tagline, a key messaging tool for the decennial census outreach effort.
  • Counting for Dollars Project – This project will identify all federal financial assistance programs relying Decennial Census-derived data to guide the geographic distribution of funds.
  • 2020 Census Type of Enumeration Area (TEA) – An interactive map showing the type of enumeration the Census plans to use.
    • Types of Enumeration include:
      • Self-Response – designed to occur in areas where the majority of housing units have mail delivered to the physical location of the housing unit. Self-Response is the primary enumeration methodology for the 2020 Census. Self response will likely be a piece of mail that includes a unique Census ID number, which residents will use in their self-response online, by phone, or through paper.
        Note: the Census ID number is good to use when completing the Census, but it is not necessary to complete the Census. Census responses without Census ID numbers will be matched to their address and Census ID number later to avoid duplicate responses.
      • Update Leave (UL) – designed to occur in areas where the majority of housing units either do not have mail delivered to the physical location of the housing unit, or the mail delivery information for the housing unit cannot be verified. This type of enumeration involves verifying the address and living quarters and leaving an internet self-response form.
      • Update Enumerate (UE) – designed to occur in areas where the initial visit requires enumerating while updating the address frame. UE will occur in areas that were part of the 2010 Census Remote UE Operation, such as northern parts of Maine and southeast Alaska, as well as select American Indian areas that request to be enumerated in person during the initial visit.
      • Military – designed to occur in areas on military installations.
  • Libraries and the 2020 Census (ALA) – Brief on how and why libraries are an important part of Complete Count efforts all over the country.
  • Getting Ready for Census 2020 (NYLA)
  • Kids Count 2018 from Annie E. Casey Foundation – The 2010 U.S. Census failed to count almost 1 million children younger than age 5, and we could make the same mistake in the 2020 Census.
  • New York State Census Focus Groups with Families with Young Children – All participants were unaware that the census affected the levels of funding, and they generally felt that that is a crucial reason to fill out the census.
  • Hard to Count Population Map with Libraries – Hard to Count populations are communities and groups with historically low response rates to the Census including, young children, highly mobile persons, racial and ethnic minorities, non-English speakers, low income persons, persons experiencing homelessness, undocumented immigrants, persons who distrust the government, LGBTQ persons, persons with mental or physical disabilities, persons who do not live in traditional housing.
  • Broadband Access and Adoption Map by Census Tract
  • It Pays to be Counted – New York stands to lose $2,600 for each person that goes uncounted.
  • Census Barriers, Attitudes and Motivators Study – Two-thirds of respondents are “extremely likely” or “very likely” to fill out a census form. Many people were unfamiliar with the census, with only 33 percent being “extremely” or “very” familiar. Knowledge about the purpose and process of the census was uneven across groups. The analysis revealed five barriers that might prevent people from participating in the census: concerns about data privacy and confidentiality, fear of repercussions, distrust in all levels of government, feeling that it doesn’t matter if you are counted, and belief that completing the census might not benefit you personally. Funding for public services was a top motivator across groups, yet less than half of respondents knew that the census is used to determine community funding.
  • Title 13, U.S. Code – The privacy of information recorded in the Census is taken very seriously. Private information is never published. It is against the law to disclose or publish any private information that identifies an individual or business such, including names, addresses (including GPS coordinates), Social Security Numbers, and telephone numbers. Violating the law is a serious federal crime. Anyone who violates this law will face severe penalties, including a federal prison sentence of up to five years, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.
  • Dollars And Census Planet Money Podcast – This podcast provides a quick 7 minute background on the Census, along with an overview of how the Census determines how much federal funding districts get, and how many congressional representatives they get to elect.
  • How the 2020 Census will invite everyone to respond – Outline and timeline of how the call for responses will be conducted from the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • The Response Outreach Area Mapper (ROAM) – This application was developed to make it easier to identify hard-to-survey areas and to provide a socioeconomic and demographic characteristic profile of these areas using American Community Survey (ACS) estimates available in the Planning Database. Learning about each hard-to-survey area allows the U.S. Census Bureau to create a tailored communication and partnership campaign, and to plan for field resources including hiring staff with language skills. These and other efforts can improve response rates.
  • Key 2020 Census Milestones – Timeline of Census activity.
    • January 2020 – Census Questionnaire Assistance will be available to answer general questions about the
      census from mid-January through early September 2020. However, the self-response period
      for the telephone option will run from mid-March through the end of July.
    • February 2020 – The Census Bureau will contact administrators of group quarters (military barracks, college dorms, prisons, and skilled nursing homes, among others) in advance of the enumeration of
      these locations, which will occur in April.
    • March 12, 2020- The internet self-response period will start as households begin to receive invitations to
      respond, either through the mail or hand-delivered to households in many rural and remote
      areas. Households may continue to self-respond through July 31.
    • March 30, 2020 – Service-Based Enumeration (SBE) will begin. This three-day/night enumeration occurs at shelters, locations that provide services for people experiencing homelessness, and targeted
      outdoor locations where people experiencing homelessness sleep.
    • April 1, 2020 – Census Day! Respondents do not have to wait until April 1 to respond but should include
      everyone who will be a “usual resident” on April 1. If people aren’t sure, they can wait until April 1 to respond.
    • April 2020 – Group quarters will be counted during April.
    • May 13, 2020 – Nonresponse Follow-up (NRFU) will begin. During NRFU, the Census Bureau will follow up with households that did not self-respond to the census by sending reminders and/or visiting in person. NRFU will continue through July. (In communities with large numbers of off-campus
      college students, NRFU will begin on April 9, to reach students before the academic term ends.)



For more info contact Casey Conlin at cconlin@midhudson.org.


Upcoming Events