Every 10 years, the United States government conducts the census — a national accounting of everyone living in every state, D.C. & 5 U.S. Territories. This crucial exercise not only helps to create accurate population numbers, but determines the allocation of hundreds of billions of federal dollars, where new infrastructure is built, the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the census results are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts. In short, it’s vital to ensuring a representational democracy is exactly that — representational.
Nonprofits of every size and type have and can play a crucial role in making sure the communities they serve ARE properly represented in the census by “getting out the count” and, most importantly, reaching into what is known as “hard to count” or “traditionally undercounted” communities. Like the electoral process, those experiencing homelessness, non-English speakers, LGBTQ+, racial minorities and many more are often not fully engaged in the process — which can set up a vicious cycle of exclusion for another decade.
You can see all of our materials and information about how your nonprofit can engage with the census at our Nonprofits Count: 2020 Census resource library.