Census Day is April 1, 2020. What’s new this year?
For the first time, the United States Census will be conducted primarily online. The Census is conducted only once every ten years. It counts every person who is residing in the U.S., regardless of immigration status or citizenship.
How is Census data used?
Census data informs how billions of federal dollars are spent, affecting programs from Medicaid to road construction to County Extension. It’s also an essential planning tool for businesses and local governments and is very useful to anyone researching their family history. Census data will also determine how many United States congressional delegates will represent Texas and will impact redistricting.
Why should the library get involved?
Libraries are trusted information brokers and can play an essential role in ensuring a fair and accurate count in their communities for the upcoming 2020 Census. In addition to providing internet and computer access to individuals unable to complete the census form at their residence, libraries can serve as a source of information and assist with basic questions about completing the Census 2020.
How can my library support the Census?
Identify hard-to-count populations in your service area using the Census ROAM mapping tool. Examples of these populations include:
- Children under 5
- Households without Internet access
- Households in poverty
Develop partnerships with other groups in your community that are already working on the Census. Groups that may already be working on this include:
- Complete count committees
- Foundations and non-profits
- Local governments
Create programs about the Census or incorporate information about the Census into ongoing programs.
Host children’s programs.
- Example: My First Census Picture Day program
- Book discussions
- Job fairs
Share information about the purpose of the Census with staff, board members, volunteers, and community partners.
Prepare library staff for the Census. Impacts may include:
- Increased computer use
- Increased Wi-Fi use
- Questions from patrons
Libraries & Census 2020
- American Library Association 2020 Census page – a clearinghouse of handouts, presentations, information, etc.
- Libraries’ Guide to the 2020 Census -20 page guide with a timeline on p. 5
- Preparing Texas Libraries for the 2020 Census TSLAC recorded webinar (1 hour). To recive CE Credit, be sure to officially enroll in the course before viewing the archived Webinar.
- Oregon State Library Census Guide – includes a page of handouts organized by audience
- Study: More than $1 billion in library funding to be allocated based on Census results
Local governments & Census 2020
- National League of Cities Census Action Guide – useful for talking with city officials, see the talking points on p. 25
- National Association of Counties Everyone Counts: How 2020 Census Data Matter to Your Bottom Line – useful for communicating with county officials
- Article: How Rural Areas can Avoid Being Undercounted in the Census