Since 1790, the U.S. Census Bureau has conducted a national census every ten years. The purpose of the census is to establish an accurate count of the nation’s population. States and local governments are currently in the process of preparing for the upcoming 2020 Census, which will begin on April 1, 2020. To ensure that counties are well informed and taking all the necessary steps, ACCG created this resource center.
Why is the Census Important?
The information collected in the census is used to:
- Allocate federal funding to states and local governments
- Assist federal and state agencies in administering programs
- Determine Congressional representation
- Future planning for counties in terms of resources needed for their communities
The Role of Counties in the Census
Ensuring that each county has an accurate census count is very important. Each person who participated in the 2010 Census brought in approximately $1339 to the state in federal funding per year. Failure to count just 10 households containing 2.5 people in your county could result in the loss of $334,750 over the 10 year census period.
The first step in ensuring an accurate count is participation in the Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA). LUCA gives counties an opportunity to view the census address lists for their counties and make changes. Without a comprehensive list of all residential addresses in your county, you are at risk of having a large undercount in population. For the 2020 Census, 158 counties registered for LUCA. All counties participating in LUCA have submitted their changes to the U.S. Census Bureau. In the summer of 2019, these counties will receive the results of address canvassing and will have a change to amend and appeal this information if necessary.
Local Complete Count Committees
While the state has created a Complete Count Committee to provide educational tools and coordinate statewide census efforts, counties should also create Local Complete Count Committees (CCCs). CCCs are established to increase awareness about the 2020 Census and to motivate residents in your county to complete the census. During the 2010 Census, 77 county and 22 joint county-city CCCs were created. These committees should be made up of a wide variety of stakeholders including county and municipal leaders, local schools and colleges, regional commissions, extension services, media, faith based organizations, community organizations, ethnic/cultural organizations, employers, or any other groups in your county that can help maximize participation. Creating a CCC in your county will strengthen the planning and execution of outreach efforts, especially in hard to count areas. The Census Bureau has created a Census Complete Count Committee Guide to assist local communities in created their committee. Once your county has created a Complete Count Committee, notify the State Complete Count Committee through their online Local Complete Count Committee Sign-up.
The state has created a 2020 Census Website to help Georgians prepare for the upcoming census. This website contains critical information to help elected officials, community groups, and individual citizens plan for and learn about the importance of the census. In its current format, there are four main categories provided through the website-About the Census, Security, Community Involvement, and Census Data.
U.S Census Bureau
The U.S. Census Bureau provides resources and technical assistance for counties. They have a dedicated web page that provides detailed information about the 2020 Census. This page contains the operation plan, census memorandum series, news, updates, census jobs, and infographics.
As part of the technical assistance offered to counties, the U.S. Census Bureau offers workshops and support for outreach efforts, including assistance in creating CCCs. For information about workshops contact the Atlanta Regional Office at (404) 730-3834. For questions about outreach efforts contact Partnership Specialists Vicki Mack or Thurman Tillman. Further technical guidance is offered through the Final 2020 Census Residence Criteria and Residence Situations which contains residence criteria used to determine where people are counted during each census as well as guidelines for specific populations such as the homeless, people in correctional facilities, military personnel, and college students.
After each census, the U. S. Census Bureau reviews response rates. Areas that have low response rates are considered to be hard-to-count. Reasons for low response rates may be language barriers, low trust in government, or poor communications with citizens in certain groups or communities. There are several resources that will help your county to identify previous areas that were previously noted as hard-to-count.
CUNY Mapping Service
The City University of New York (CUNY) Mapping Service at the Center for Urban Research has developed a map of hard-to-count (HTC) communities to highlight areas of the country whose populations had low mail return rates for the 2010 Census. The map provides information to help stakeholders ensure these hard-to-count areas and populations are fully counted.
The Response Outreach Area Mapper
The Response Outreach Area Mapper (ROAM) is designed to show characteristics of hard-to-count areas. This map shows the Low Response Score (LRS) for an area. The higher the number, the more difficult the area may be to survey. If the LRS is low, the area has a high probability of returning their census form immediately.
Census Engagement Navigator
The Census Engagement Navigator was specifically created to prepare for the 2020 census. It allows users to understand what areas of the country had high or low return rates in the 2010 Census, and the current demographic makeup of these neighborhoods.
2010 Response Rates
Response Rates from the 2010 Census are available and can be broken down by state, county, city, and more. It also compares the participation rate from 2000 to 2010.
Georgia Hard to Count Maps
Using Census tools, DCA and OPB created maps that show the hard-to-count areas in Georgia by each DCA District, Congressional District, and county.
ACCG and GMA held a series of census workshops on creating local complete count committees. Below is a link to the materials provided at each meeting. The workshop in Macon-Bibb County was recorded and a link to the meeting will be provided.