This year has been filled with a multitude of momentous events and promises still more. However, 2020 Is significant for another reason - it is a Census year. Although this may seem less dramatic than many of today's headlines it is no less important. The Census count affects government funding levels for each region. It also determines how Congressional districts are drawn as well as how many members of Congress each state has. The numbers are used to determine needs for educational, housing, healthcare resources, and more.
Unfortunately, many of our students belong to populations that are described as "hard to count". According to the Census Bureau, the 2010 Census under-counted the African-American population by more than 800,000, and roughly one in three Hispanic people lives in a "hard to count" census tract. Poverty, housing insecurity, and language barriers are all factors that make a specific population "hard to count".
Here are five resources to help students understand and participate in Census 2020:
The Census Counts
The Census Counts campaign is a partnership of community-based advocacy organizations that have partnered to help these "hard to count" populations to participate in Census 2020. Their excellent website serves as a great resource for this effort. The site includes a wide collection of informational resources and outreach tools which can help motivate a fuller level of Census participation.
Interview outlining Census Efforts During COVID
The Deputy Chief of Staff at New Jersey's Department of State, Lauren Zyriek Enriques, is interviewed by Univision's WUVP-DT, She outlines the timeline for Census efforts during the COVID crisis, explains safeguards put in place to protect undocumented residents, and gives information on how to avoid Census-related fraud. The interview is entirely in Spanish.
Thankfully, the U.S. Census Bureau has upped their game as well. For those with a connection to the internet, filling out the Census is easier than ever before. A resident can complete the Census form at this site and can choose from a variety of languages.
Video Guides on How to Complete the Census
While completing the form online is convenient, it can be intimidating if one has never done it before and is unsure of what is coming. Again the U.S. Census Bureau has provided an excellent resource by posting video guides on how to complete the Census form. These guides come in a multitude of languages including American Sign Language.
One-on-One Help by Telephone
Not everyone has access to the internet and some are uncomfortable using it. If a person needs one-on-one assistance, the U.S. Census Bureau has provided assistants who can be contacted by phone. Phone assistance can be obtained in a many languages. This document provides the telephone numbers and can easily be posted or handed out by adult education providers. Operators are standing by!
We hope you will find these resources helpful.