Philanthropy's Role in the 2020 Census
The Council of New Jersey Grantmakers joins the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation’s Funders Census Initiative, the United Philanthropy Forum, and philanthropy-serving organizations around the country in asking our members to commit to supporting and encouraging a fair and accurate census.
“Census Day,” April 1, 2020, is right around the corner and the time to act is now.
More than $800 billion annually in federal assistance to states, localities and families is distributed based on census data; yet historically, the census has missed disproportionate numbers of people of color, young children and the rural and urban poor, leading to inequality in political power and inaccessibility to public funding and private investment for these communities. Going into 2020, additional communities, including immigrants, refugees, unmarried women and the LGBTQ community are at risk of being missed.
Of that $800 billion, $17.56 billion distributed to our state is based on census data. Furthermore, in the 2010 census, return rates for New Jersey’s cities were very low: 55% in Newark, 50% in Irvington, 55% in Orange, 55% in Atlantic City, 56% in New Brunswick, 59% in Trenton, 60% in Paterson, and 61% in Camden. These communities are among those labeled Hard-to-Count (HTC). 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. Our state has so much at stake, and we need to ensure a full, fair and accurate census. Without accurate census data, the communities you care about could see less investment in their vital public and private resources.
The Fund for New Jersey has created a website, which includes interactive maps to find Hard to Count areas, resources, and news. The Fund reminds us that almost everything we know about our communities comes from information collected during the census and its related surveys. Read The Fund for New Jersey’s policy paper, Toward a Fair and Accurate Census 2020 and a Timeline for Philanthropy, and download their checklist for outlining a number of ways philanthropy can support Census 2020.
The 2020 Census is facing unprecedented challenges, including years of underfunding, a climate of fear, the challenges of the first “high tech” census, and the potential addition of an untested citizenship question. So what can you do?
Here are some things you can do today:
- Review the Funder Menu of Options created in partnership by United Philanthropy Forum and the Funders Census Initiative (FCI 2020) to help funders identify what they can to do.
- Join the Funders Census Initiative Working Group. As a working group member, you’ll have access to the core listserv for funders to connect on their work at the national, state and local levels. There is no cost, and you don’t need to be a FCCP member to join.
- Sign up to get ongoing updates from the Census Bureau, including America Counts: Stories Behind the Numbers, the latest news, Tip sheets, and Stats for Stories. You can also partner with our Census Regional Office.
- Talk to your grantees about the importance of a full and accurate 2020 Census, and what it means for their community and their work. Encourage them to get involved.
- Advocate for a fair and accurate census, and for the resources to support a complete count in your community and statewide.
- Share information on your website; via mailings, e-blasts and social media; and at your board and staff meetings to inform people why the census matters to your community and your grantees.
- Keep the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers up to date on what you are doing. Please contact Theresa Jacks, Deputy Director for more information.
It is difficult to overstate the importance of a fair census count. When census information is not accurate, it threatens to muffle the voices of undercounted groups and regions, and undermine the basic political equality that is central to our democracy. Institutions across the country, including local and state governments, businesses, nonprofits and foundations, routinely rely on data from the census to allocate funding, define where services are delivered, and promote economic development. Thank you for your commitment to making sure that everyone counts!
Websites to Visit
- The Census Project
A broad-based network of national, state, and local organizations that supports a fair and accurate 2020 Census and comprehensive American Community Survey (ACS — the modern version of the census “long form”). Participating stakeholders represent a diverse range of American sectors that rely on objective data for decision-making and promote civic engagement: business and industry; civil rights advocates; state and local governments; social service agencies; researchers and scientific associations; planners; foundations; and nonprofits focused on housing, child and family welfare, education, transportation, and other vital services.
- Funders Census Initiative
A project of the Funders Committee for Civic Participation, a philanthropy-serving organization spearheading Census-related work and information for funders.
- United Philanthropy Forum
The largest network serving philanthropy in America, consisting of regional and national philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs). Through the Census 2020 Project, the Forum is working with members to mobilize regional funders to advocate for policy improvements for the 2020 census, and to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of a fair and accurate census count to philanthropy. CNJG is a member of the Forum.
- United States Census Bureau
The Bureau's mission is to serve as the leading source of quality data about the nation's people and economy and is the federal government’s largest statistical agency. The Decennial Census is the once-a-decade population and housing count of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Island Areas as required by the U.S. Constitution. The results of the decennial census determine the number of seats for each state in the U.S. House of Representatives and are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts and to distribute more than $675 billion in federal funds each year.
- NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development
NJ's governmental department that works with the Census Bureau to conduct the census in New Jersey.
- Governing.com Census Resources
Governing Magazine has a number of data, resources, and informative reports about the Census all in one dedicated area.
- Advocates for Children of New Jersey – Census 2020 NJ
- The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights – 2020 Census
Resources to Use
- 2017 CNJG Conference – Luncheon Keynote: The Linchpin – Why the 2020 Census Matters
- Mapping Hard to Count (HTC) Communities for a Fair and Accurate 2020 Census
- The Census Project: Fact Sheets and Reports
- The Census Project: Monthly Updates
- The Census Project: Recent Media
- Census.gov: Community Outreach Toolkit
- Checklist for Legislators: How You Can Help the 2020 Census in Your State
- NJ Complete Count Commission
Webinars to Watch
- Emergency Briefing on Adding Citizenship Question to the 2020 Census
- Making Philanthropy Count - Census 2020
- Census 2020: Why Philanthropy Counts
- What Funders Need to Know About Census 2020 Operations
- Johnson Center Podcast: This One Counts
- Brennan Center for Justice: The 2020 Census: What's at Stake
- Census Day 2019 Press Briefing (4/1/2019)
- Census Bureau: Shape Your Future
- FCI Briefing Series: Census 2020 Messaging Testing Results – presented by Color of Change
- FCI Briefing Series: Census 2020 Messaging Testing Results – presented by National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials
- FCI Briefing Series: Census 2020 Messaging Testing Results – presented by Asian Americans Advancing Justice
- FCI Briefing Series: Census 2020 Messaging Testing Results – presented on Messaging Studies with the Census Bureau
- FCI Briefing Series: Census 2020 Messaging Testing Results – presented by National Congress of American Indians
- FCI Briefing Series: Census 2020 Messaging Testing Results – presented by the Arab American Institute and American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
- FCI Briefing Series: Census 2020 Messaging Testing Results – presented by San Joaquin Valley Health Fund: Census Research Project
Articles to Read
- United Philanthropy Forum: A Critical Moment for the 2020 Census and Why Philanthropy Should Care (5/12/2017)
- CityLab: Ex-Census Director: Citizenship Question Is 'a Tremendous Risk' (2/27/2018)
- ProPublica: The Trump Appointee Behind the Move to Add a Citizenship Question to the Census (3/7/2018)
- FiveThirtyEight: A Million Children Didn’t Show Up In The 2010 Census. How Many Will Be Missing In 2020? (3/19/2018)
- Governing: A Census Citizenship Question Wouldn't Just Impact Blue States (3/28/2018)
- ScienceMag: 2020 census gets huge budget boost, but addition of citizenship question worries critics (3/27/2018)
- Governing: A Census Citizenship Question Wouldn't Just Impact Blue States (3/28/2018)
- United Philanthropy Forum: Adding Citizenship Question Will Impede a Fair and Accurate Census Count (3/28/2018)
- TheIntercept: COUNT DOWN: How the Trump Administration Is Botching Its Only Trial Run for the 2020 Census (3/31/2018)
- ScienceMag: Trump officials claim they can avoid 2020 census problems caused by controversial citizenship question (4/13/2018)
- The Chronicle of Philanthropy: Foundations Push Census Turnout in Worrisome Times (5/7/2018)
- ScienceMag: More money, more worries: 2020 census plans continue to generate controversy (5/15/2018)
- The Census Project: Senate Appropriators Strongly Urged to Support House Level of Funding for 2020 Census in FY19 Appropriations (6/5/2018)
- The NonpPofit Times: Nonprofits Already Eyeing 2020 Census, $800 Billion At Stake 6/6/2018)
- NPR: Documents Shed Light On Decision To Add Census Citizenship Question (6/10/2018)
- The Census Project: June 2018 Census Project Update (7/10/2018)
- City Lab: A Visual History of the U.S. Census (7/29/2018)
- The Chronicle of Philanthropy: Every Person Counts: Why the Census Must Be Rescued (7/31/2018) - Subscription access
- Inside Philanthropy: Census 2020: How Is Philanthropy Responding to the Citizenship Question? (8/2/2018)
- The New York Times: Why the Government Wants to Know Your Citizenship Status (8/4/2018)
- Insider NJ: Rice Bill to Create NJ Complete Count Commission for 2020 Census Signed into Law (8/25/2018)
- Pacific Standard Magazine: Census Bureau Economists Provide More Evidence Against the Citizenship Question (8/31/2018)
- NJ Spotlight: State's Complete Count Commission Knows NJ Can't Afford a Sloppy Census (9/6/2018)
- NorthJersey.com: Paterson looks to ease immigrants’ fears that could depress its Census count. (9/19/2018)
- Reuters: Worried about undercount, states and cities spend to promote 2020 census (10/1/2018)
- The Trentonian: Officials urge Trenton residents to fill out Census in 2020 (10/18/2018)
- Governing: With 2020 Census Looming, Governments Face Many Unknowns (11/2018)
- City Lab: Would Top Census Officials Hand Over Citizenship Status Data? (11/20/2018)
- The Washington Post: Senate confirms new Census Bureau director as 2020 survey approaches (1/3/2019)
- NPR: Senate Confirms Trump's Census Bureau Director Nominee Steven Dillingham (1/9/2019)
- Press of Atlantic City: Census Complete Count Commission holds first meeting (1/10/2019)
- NPR: Judge Orders Trump Administration To Remove 2020 Census Citizenship Question (1/15/2019)
- Insights Association: With Fewer Area Census Offices, Congress Looks for Questionnaire Assistance Centers for 2020 Census (2/12/2019)
- GW Institute of Public Policy: Counting for Dollars 2020: The Role of the Decennial Census in the Geographic Distribution of Federal Funds (2/13/2019)
- The Census Project: Census Experts Commend Updated Study Showing Almost $9 Trillion Next Decade from Feds to States Depends on 2020 Census (3/8/2019)
- Nonprofit Quarterly: 3rd Judge Rejects Census Citizenship Question as US Supreme Court Date Looms (3/8/2019)
- NJ TV Online: NJ commission works toward ‘complete count’ for 2020 census (3/22/2019)
- NPR: What You Need To Know About The 2020 Census (3/31/2019)
- NJ Spotlight: NJ Urged to Put More Money and Speed into 2020 Census Preparations (4/1/2019)
- United Philanthropy Forum: Philanthropy Turns to the Supreme Court to Ensure a Fair and Accurate Census Count (4/4/2019)
- Inside Philanthropy: Census 2020: Inside Efforts to Make Sure Rural Communities Count (4/4/2019)
- Governing: In the Trump Era, Muslim Immigrants Distrust the Census (4/8/2019)
- NextCity: How Cities Plan to Save the Census (4/26/2019)
- Nonprofit Quarterly: Who Will Be Counted in the US Census? (4/29/2019)
- NJ Spotlight: Is NJ Prepared to Spend $9M - $1 per Person - to Ensure Accurate Census Count? (4/30/2019)
- Nonprofit Quarterly: Legal Advocates Speak Out about the Dangers of Weaponizing the Census (5/1/2019)