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Americans Sheltering at home can take the Census Online

With shelter at home orders in place for 25 percent of the country and social isolation recommended for the rest, Americans can fulfill a crucial civic duty, and find a temporary distraction from COVID-19 news, by completing the 2020 U.S. Census online.


2020 marks the first time the U.S. Census is available to complete online. Completing the Census safely at home online, or through the mail and phone-in options, reduces the amount of in-person follow-up required and relieves a significant burden on U.S. Census operations already over-stressed due to COVID-19 considerations.


Census count estimations made even before COVID-19 (detailed below) showed that in some counties the likely impact of a census undercount is especially high, which could lead to a disproportionate and unfair distribution of resources and representation.


Unlike many events, the 2020 Census cannot be postponed in response to this pandemic. As mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the Census must take place every ten years, and it is critical, in spite of the COVID-19 outbreak, that the 2020 count is as accurate as possible. Online, mail and phone-in self response options are key not only for increasing this accuracy, but also for maintaining public health during the duration of the 2020 Census, which takes place now through July.

 

U.S. Counties Most Affected by a 2020 Census Undercount:

Even before COVID-19 there were concerns about the impact of an undercount on resources and representation in hard-to-count communities around the country.


Throughout the next decade, the data collected from the 2020 Census will be used to determine the distribution of congressional representation and federal funding for critical programs, ranging from health to education to infrastructure. In some counties, the likely impact of a census undercount is especially high, which could lead to a disproportionate and unfair distribution of resources and representation.


The Undercount Impact Model, developed by Fair Census Project and Civis Analytics — a national consultancy and software company that helps government, agencies, nonprofits and businesses with data analytics, and which we use to guide our work — determined that the likely miscount in the following counties will have the twenty greatest unfair impacts when determining federal funding and congressional apportionment for the next decade.

County  State Miscount % Miscounted as a Factor of Number Needed to Lose/Gain State-Seat Miscounted Share of State's Loss of Federal Funding (mm)
1. Miami-Dade County FL -3.1% 11.13 $15.7

 

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