Census data helps determine allocation of government resources and ensure fair political representation for Floridians and all Americans. The 2020 Census is facing unprecedented challenges, and although philanthropy cannot and should not supplant the government’s responsibility to ensure a fair and accurate census, funder engagement in support of the census is more important than ever.
Since the bureau is facing budget constraints like never before, it is planning to collect the majority of census information online, scale back door-to-door outreach and roll back canvassing. These changes increase the potential of undercounting young children, minorities, low-income individuals and other marginalized individuals.
More than $600 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 in access to public funding and private investment for these communities. Going into 2020, additional communities, including immigrants and refugees, unmarried women and the LGBTQ community are at risk of being missed.
If you think underfunding the Census won't affect your community, consider that $29 billion in federal funds is distributed to our state based on census data. Furthermore, in 50 counties, we have at least one hard-to-count community with low mail response rates in the 2010 census. 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 fair and accurate census.
So what can you do?
1. Review the Funder Menu of Options
Created in partnership by United Philanthropy Forum and the Funders Census Initiative (FCI 2020) the Funder Menu of Options helps funders identify what they can to do.
2. Review Hard to Count Map
The Census Bureau announced that 18.6 million households have already responded to the census online, and the Bureau has made response rate data available. Data are now on the Hard to Count map developed by CUNY Mapping Service at the Center for Urban Research, CUNY Graduate Center. Check out self response rates to date for your state or community here.
For background information, visit this map for details on Florida's Hart to Count districts in a downloadable PDF or review the interactive map. There may be a Complete Count Committee in your area! Check out this interactive map to find a committee near you. Contact information is provided.
3. Join the Funders Census Initiative Working Group
As a Funders Census Initiative 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. Later this year, we’ll also be launching a password protected portal for working group members to share additional resources. There is no cost, and you don’t need to be a FCCP member to join.
4. Create your local/regional message using FPN's Advocacy Libs
Complete FPN's Advocacy Lib on fully funding the Census 2020 and contact your legislators with your customized message!