Important information regarding changes to the 2020 Census operations due to the COVID-19 outbreak
Afterschool programs across our country are making a huge difference in the lives of children, families and communities. Millions of our children and youth rely on federal support, determined by the U.S. census, to attend afterschool and summer learning programs. The results of the census will be used to determine how more than $675 billion of federal spending will be allocated for the next 10 years.
It is critical that every individual physically living in the country be counted in the census regardless of age, citizenship status, homeowner status, or language spoken at home. But far too many families are not counted, especially those that directly benefit from access to afterschool and summer learning programs.
Helping to get an accurate census count is one of the most important things we can do to serve our communities.
IT IS A FEDERAL CRIME TO USE ANY INFORMATION OBTAINED IN A CENSUS FORM FOR ANYTHING OTHER THAN AN ACCURATE CENSUS COUNT.
You will NOT be asked about your citizenship status on the 2020 Census.
In March 2020, households will receive a letter inviting them to participate in the 2020 Census, with details on how to fill out the census. You can fill out the census online, by mail, or by phone. All households will receive this letter by April 1, 2020, which is Census Day. Census Day is the point of reference for filling out the census--in your responses, you include everyone living in your home on April 1, 2020, regardless of age or guardianship.In April 2020, households that have not yet responded will be sent a paper census. Due to precautions regarding the spread of COVID-19, home visits have been pushed back to begin in late May 2020. You have until the summer of 2020 to complete the census.
The 2020 Census in your community - If you are unsure of who in your community will be leading the efforts to "Get Out the Count" in 2020, here are some of the trusted partners in your state that are here to help:
The census asks you demographic information about all of the people residing in your home, including age, race, and gender. It will never ask you to disclose information such as your social security number, anything related to your bank account or credit card numbers, or anything related to your political party affiliation.
Importantly, the 2020 Census will NOT ask you about your citizenship status. To find out what questions will be asked by the census, visit: https://2020census.gov/en/about-questions.html
2020 Census by the numbers - Funding from federal programs is distributed to states through various community-lifting programs based on total population and target population counts.
Have trusted individuals, like students and program staff, educate parents and community members about the importance of the census. Key points include:
Help connect families to the census.
Consider becoming a census partner.
Use, Organize Around, and Share the Map of Under-Counted Communities.
This map helps you find communities that have been undercounted in the past. Find the ones in your neighborhood and coordinate outreach and events to reach these individuals and families in particular.
2020 Census field offices are open and operating with reduced staff to allow for social distancing and support efforts to stop the spread of this coronavirus.
There's still time to apply to become a census taker. Afterschool program staff members and students that meet the minimum age requirement can apply to be a census taker, which is a paid, part-time position.
How can I apply to be a census taker?
The application to be a census taker is available online at the United States Census Bureau's website and takes about 30 minutes to complete. Your local library may also have resources to assist you throughout the application process. Applications are available in English and Spanish.
Afterschool programs can partner with local libraries to train census takers, help people apply to be census takers, and host census completing events using the libraries’ free computers and internet access.
What are the eligibility requirements to be a census taker?
It has never been more important for families to hear from trusted community partners. With everyone responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, it is important that families do not forget how important it is for them to complete the census survey - and ensure their communities are not deprived of critical resouces over the next decade. Take a role in educating families about what is at stake and encourage everyone to take the important step of completing their survey.
Due to the sensitive nature of privacy, many folks in your community may be wary of completing their 2020 Census survey. At a time when disinformation and misinformation can cause many families to mistrust the census process, it is imperative that families know their rights and what is at stake - and that they are reassured of this through reliable sources and trusted community members.
Afterschool providers can and should be that voice. In many cases, families already place a tremendous amount of trust in their afterschool providers and often have long-standing relationships with program staff that spans over multiple school years. As a trusted community member, it is important that families hear from you that completing the census is not only safe but urgently important.
Here’s how you can spread the message that the census is coming, important, and safe:
If there are families in your community who are more comfortable with a language other than English, there are resources available in many other languages to help respondents complete the 2020 Census.
Language Guides from the U.S. Census Bureau | These guides are available in 60 different languages and can help respondents complete the 2020 Census.
These resources will help you think about how to message your communication with families and what information to emphasize.
Use these resources to help you share information about the 2020 Census. These partner organizations have explainer videos, graphics, and language for you to pull from.
IMPORTANT: To be fully compliant and cooperative with safety precautions aim at slowing the spread of COVID-19, we do not encourage afterschool programs to host census nights at this time. However, there are still ways afterschool programs and staff can play a role in ensuring their families are counted. Include a census reminder in your next email, newsletter, or update - include a link to the survey online and some resources on what the census means, why it is important, and how families can be reassured of its safety. Or take this opportunity to call families and check in on them. As part of your check-in, encourage them to go to census.gov and complete their survey - ensuring their family sees the resources they need for the next ten years.
OR plan a tele-event! Ask program staff to take one hour on a scheduled night to call families and talk about the census and why it matters. Before ending your call, encourage families to complete their survey by the end of the hour and then call two more friends to encourage them to complete their survey.
While this is a very fluid situation, we expect that the survey completion date will be pushed back to accommodate the precautions taken to stem the spread of COVID-19. When normal activities resume, afterschool and summer learning programs will be hubs of family engagement. Understanding the many barriers that exist for families who wish to complete the census survey, one of the most effective ways afterschool providers can help ensure an accurate count is by hosting a census event at their program. When normal activities resume, afterschool providers are encouraged to open up their spaces and invite families to complete their survey using their facilities and computers.
For more, join NonprofitVote's webinar on April 8 about getting out the count during COVID-19
Additional partner resources for getting out the count during COVID-19:
Get creative! You can make it a one-night event and invite a census expert from your local Complete Count Committee or have computers, laptops, and tablets ready on a rolling basis during student pick-up.
Check out this resource on planning your own Census Night
If you have the resources, become an official center where families can fill out the census, or consider partnering and/or co-hosting an event with other organizations in your community that are also working on ensuring a complete count. For example, many libraries are getting involved with the 2020 Census and can be a great place to start!
A great place to get started is to connect with your state’s afterschool network!
Additional partners to connect with: