Census 2020

NetworkPeninsula / Census 2020

March 16

It’s time to spread the word about the need for everyone to fill out the 2020 Census questionnaire. Funding for everyday things in your community – from health clinics to fire departments and school lunches to roads – depend on a fair, accurate, and complete count. Videos are available in more than a dozen languages including Khmer, American Sign Language, Romanian, Punjabi, Lao, and more! Additional help is available at Mobile Questionnaire Assistance Centers where census workers will be available to help fill out the form and answer questions, including instructions in 59 non-English languages. Personal census data are completely private and by law cannot be shared with anyone – including immigration and law enforcement agencies. Census workers must sign an oath to maintain confidentiality or face a $250,000 fine and/or prison time. A new Trust & Safety Team has been established to prevent the spread of fake, misleading, and inaccurate information, and further steps are being taken to fight any potential hacking and cybersecurity threats. So, spread the word to all board members, staff, volunteers, partner organizations, and everyone you serve to get counted.

Important Dates:

Mar. 12-20: Households begin receiving heads-up postcards from U.S. Census Bureau

  • Mar. 23: Self-response begins via online, by phone, or by mail
  • Mar. 30-Apr. 1: Households receive reminders to respond. The U.S. Census Bureau, in collaboration with many nonprofits, will begin counting people experiencing homelessness
  • Apr. 1: Census Day
  • Apr. 8-16: Final postcard reminders mailed along with paper questionnaires
  • May 13-July 31: Census enumerators conduct door-to-door canvassing of households that have not responded.

Census Resources:

  • Easy Online Complete Census Questionnaire- Click Here
  • Video Tutorials in Various Languages- Click Here
  • Mobile Questionnaire Assistance Centers- Click Here
  • Mar 18: Census and Social Media training webinar conducted by Washington Nonprofits. To Register- Click Here


March 9

Did you know… you can host a census workshop

A solutions workshop is a creative, collaborative, problem-solving event that brings together diverse thinkers. The Census Solutions Workshop is specifically geared to generate new ways of communicating the importance of census data, reaching hard-to-count populations, and encouraging participation in Census Bureau surveys and programs. The workshop consists of a specific series of activities based on a design thinking methodology that help participants get to know each other, set ambitious goals, think outside the box, brainstorm with others, and quickly develop proposals for new solutions to engage communities in the census.

Goals of the workshop:

  • New types of partnerships
  • New types of solutions
  • Real commitments to doing the work
  • Connect partners/participate to each other to grow partner networks

How it helps census participants:

  • Better targeting means better participation rates, which benefits communities
  • It creates new opportunities for largescale civic action
  • Creative solutions can help people understand the vital importance of census data

How to run a workshop”

  • Step 1: Build a team and get focused
  • Get a team of around 2-4 people together to plan and host the workshop. Begin by articulating the challenges you want to solve and what you hope to achieve by the end.
  • Step 2: Handle logistics
  • Decide on the length, format, and location of the workshop, secure funding, sponsorship if needed, and build your guest list.
  • Step 3: Invite and prep
  • Send out invitations, finalize your agenda and prepare any workshop materials you’ll need.
  • Step 4: Host the workshop
  • Welcome your guests, lead them through warm-up, ideation, clustering, and prototyping. Have them share out their work and get feedback and comments.
  • Step 5: Keep it going!
  • Thank your participants and ask them to make a concrete and realistic commitment to moving forward.

To learn more, click here.


March 2

Did you know… You can join of form a Community Complete Count Committee

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. CCCs serve as state and local “census ambassador” groups that play an integral part in ensuring a complete and accurate count of the community in the 2020 Census. Success of the census depends on community involvement at every level. The U.S. Census Bureau cannot conduct the 2020 Census alone.

A Complete Count Committee should be formed to:

  • Increase the self-response rate for households responding online, by phone, or mailing back their questionnaire through a focused, structured, neighbor-to-neighbor program.
  • Utilize the local knowledge, expertise, and influence of each Complete Count Committee member to design and implement a census awareness campaign targeted to the community.
  • Bring together a cross section of community members whose focus is 2020 Census awareness.

Community Complete Count Committees are often formed in areas that do not have a government CCC or areas that may require a more targeted outreach approach. Community CCCs may be formed by a community group/organization or a coalition of several organizations. Community CCCs identify their own chair and committee members. They may choose individuals who are influential leaders or gatekeepers in the community to serve as members or others that will help accomplish the goals of the committee. They may also include foundations or philanthropy groups to fund the committee’s activities around a audience. Community CCCs are usually small to medium in size with anywhere from 5 to 25 members depending on the amount of organizations involved and the size of the community it represents.

Some activities these committee can host to engage census participation include:

  • Encourage organizations to include 2020 Census on the agenda of their meetings, workshops, or conferences.
  • Distribute/post on social media fliers announcing the invitation to respond to the census at busy locations in the community.
  • Make public statements of support and the importance of participating in the 2020 Census
  • Encourage households to complete the questionnaire online, by phone, or by mail. • Plan a Census Day event to motivate the community response.
  • Look online or check with your census contact person about response rates for your community. If rates are low, plan special events or activities to motivate individuals to respond.
  • Remind households if they didn’t respond online, by phone, or mail their questionnaire back, a census worker may come to their home. Encourage households to cooperate with census workers.

To learn more, click here.


February 18

Did you know… households with low incomes are at risk for being undercounted

The data collected in the 2020 Census affects our nation’s ability to ensure equal representation and equal access to important governmental and private sector resources for all Americans, including across racial and ethnic lines. Unfortunately, certain population groups – referred to as “hard-to-count” – are at a higher risk of not being fully counted in the census. Some of these groups have been historically underrepresented in the census for decades; some may experience new or increased vulnerability due to major changes in methodology, such as relying on the internet as the primary way for households to respond to the 2020 Census; and some may be reluctant to respond due to concerns about data confidentiality. Being hard-to-count can lead to unequal political representation and unequal access to vital public and private resources for these groups and their communities. More than 29 million people in or near poverty (below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level) live in hard-to-count census tracts, making up almost 50 percent of the U.S. population that lives in hard-to-count communities.

What are the “hard-to-count” characteristics of households with low incomes?

  • Housing: Households with low incomes tend to be renters and are more likely to be missed in the census because they are more likely to be moving during the census-taking process.
  • Race and Ethnicity: Households with low incomes are more likely to include people of color, who are also historically hard-to-count. In fact, the 2010 Census undercounted African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians and Alaska Natives living on reservations.
  • Internet Access: The 2020 Census plans to use the internet as the primary mode of data collection from U.S. households. However, only 78% of households with incomes below $30,000 use the internet, 10% less than the next income group ($30,000-$50,000) and almost 20% lower than households with incomes of $50,000-70,000
  • Administrative Data: The 2020 Census likely will use administrative data, such as information mined from IRS tax returns. This method may create a relative disadvantage for individuals and households with low incomes who do not file taxes or have W-2s.


Undercounting results in households with low incomes being denied a full voice in policy decision-making. As a result, their community’s different needs may not be represented or prioritized according to their real share of the population. Undercounting households with low incomes in the 2020 Census could also impact how federal funding is allocated to states and localities. Many programs that impact children, households, and communities with low incomes are funded based in whole or in part on census-derived data.

Nonprofits can encourage their “hard-to-count” populations by educating them on the benefits that arise from the census data, as well as the safety precautions that are put in place to keep their data confidential. Nonprofits can also provide helpful resources to their community members to help them stay up to date on the census timeline and provide them with resources to make it easy for them to participate. Use this “Census Community Outreach Toolkit” as a way to help your nonprofit boost your population’s participation in the 2020 Census- Click Here!


February 4 

2020 Census: The Importance of Participation

With the census survey set to hit the mailboxes by the first of April, it is pertinent to educate our partners on the benefits the census has to offer our communities as well as the drawback that would result in uncounted members. To start, the 2020 census data determines how more than $675 billion is spent supporting state, city, and county programs every year for the next ten years. When people do not respond to the survey our communities (Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, James City County, York County, Poquoson, Gloucester, and Mathews) could potentially lose up to $2,000 per person each year for the next ten years equaling out to $20,000 lost in community funding. The census counts every person living in the U.S. however, it is important to make the people in your communities aware that all answers are kept strictly confidential meaning federal law prevents census responses and information from being shared to immigration enforcement agencies or law enforcement agencies. Here are some of the ways our communities may be impacted by census results:

  • Census responses will show where new schools are needed, continual funding for healthy school meal programs, update school’s resources like textbook, technology and other helpful tools for teachers, as well as funding for Head Start programs.
  • Other ways we will see the results from the census is through new roads, housing, and revitalizing old neighborhoods.
  • Businesses use census data to decide where to start a new business or build factories which create job opportunities.
  • Census responses are also used by local governments for public safety and emergency readiness plans.
  • State governments use results for funding for programs like Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), grants for community mental health services, new clinics, and other services for families, older adults, and children.
  • Census date is particularly impactful to make sure we are fairly represented in government. Results are used to reapportion the House of Representatives, determining how many seats each state gets.

For this year’s census, you will be able to respond via online, on phone, or in the mail. Here is a helpful timeline that you can provide your community partners with to help them stay on track.