The Funders Census Initiative 2020 (FCI) is committed to stimulating interest in the census among funders and their grantees through outreach, education, resource development, and technical assistance. FCI provides a framework and serves as a clearinghouse for philanthropic support of the census, this decade and beyond. We invite you to make use of these resources and to join our efforts as we prepare for the 2020 Census count.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CENSUS
In addition to determining fair political representation and allocation of government resources, census data are required for implementation and enforcement of most civil rights laws, including the Voting Rights Act, and fair housing, education, and employment laws. At least $415 billion in federal grants are allocated each year based, directly or indirectly, on the American Community Survey (ACS) — the ongoing part of the census and only source of high-quality, updated, socio-economic data for every community and neighborhood in the country.
State governments also distribute public funds to localities using census data, and businesses depend on accurate census and ACS data to make prudent decisions on location, hiring, products and services, and capital investment, while nonprofits rely on the data to identify special community needs and target services. Historically, the census has missed disproportionate numbers of people of color, immigrants, young children (especially Latino and Black children), and low income, low educational attainment, and rural households, leading to a decade of inequity in political power, government funding, and private sector investment for these communities.
Join us as we mobilize the philanthropic effort for a fair and accurate census count that will help ensure that every community receives its fair share.
2020 Census Update
Census Update: What’s in Store for 2017?
By Terri Ann Lowenthal, FCI 2020 Senior Advisor, January 2017
In January 2017, a new President and a new Congress will take the nation’s federal governing reins. The implications of the 2016 elections for public policy are vast and largely unknown. But there are a few things we know for certain: The Trump Administration will oversee the 2020 Census, and the new Administration and 115th Congress are positioned to influence key policy decisions affecting the next constitutionally required population count and related American Community Survey (ACS). We hope the broad, consequential nature of these decisions will spur funders to support an accurate 2020 Census and robust ACS through investments in policy work and get-out-the-count campaigns. Here are the major issues to watch in the coming months
At a macro level, the 2010 Census appeared to be close to perfect. The Census Bureau reported a net national overcount of 0.01% in 2010, a number not statistically different from zero. Similarly, no state had a statistically significant net undercount, according to Census Bureau estimates. But the apparent precision can be misleading and doesn’t tell the whole story. This Fact Sheet discusses what we know about census accuracy and why it matters to funders and their grantees.
In January 2017, a new President and a new Congress will take the nation’s federal governing reins. The implications of the 2016 elections for public policy are vast and largely unknown. But there are a few things we know for certain: The Trump Administration will oversee the 2020 Census, and the new Administration and 115th Congress are positioned to influence key policy decisions affecting the next constitutionally required population count and related American Community Survey (ACS). We hope the broad, consequential nature of these decisions will spur funders to support an accurate 2020 Census and robust ACS through investments in policy work and get-out-the-count campaigns. Here are the major issues to watch in the coming months.
Get up to speed on public opinion research on the Census including best practices for talking about the Census and the American Community Survey (ACS), messages that work best for different demographic groups, and other data on the Census and ACS.
Learn about public opinion research on the Census by Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners. This briefing will provide you guidance on best practices for talking about the Census and the American Community Survey (ACS), which messages work best for different demographic groups, and other data on the Census and ACS.
With the decennial census just a few years away, a number of key policy decisions are being made that will determine whether we have a fair and accurate census. This framework provides advocacy strategies for policies that support a full enumeration and for protection of the American Community Survey (ACS).
Over the coming year, funders should monitor final U.S. Office of Management and Budget and Census Bureau decisions on the collection of race and ethnicity data, to help ensure that the 2020 Census collects accurate, useful information to guide their activities for the next decade and beyond.
When Americans fill out their 2020 Census forms, they will have more choices for identifying their race, ethnicity, and national origin than ever before. It is almost a cliché: we are an increasingly diverse nation — a factor that permeated much of the 2016 election dialogue. No wonder, then, that the census questions on race and ethnicity generate more interest, scrutiny, criticism, and debate than any others.
Like many other institutions in the United States, foundations rely on census data to craft policies, plan initiatives, deliver services and promote economic and social justice. The Democracy Funders Collaborative Census Subgroup has developed two resources to help ensure a fair and accurate census as required by the U.S. Constitution.
Thirty-five philanthropic institutions signed a letter of public comment urging the Census Bureau to count incarcerated persons at their home residence in the 2020 Census, instead of at the prison facility in which they are housed on Census Day.
FCCP’s annual convening in St. Paul last month was inspiring, educational and productive for many reasons. One highlight was a renewed focus on a critical component of strong democratic institutions and civic engagement: the decennial census.
2020 might still seem like a long way off, but the outcome of the presidential and congressional elections in 2016 could shape efforts to promote full access to governing institutions and meaningful opportunities to participate in all aspects of our democracy for years to come.
Building on its experience with the 2010 Census, FCCP will provide a strong framework for sharing information and expertise, providing technical assistance to funders and grantees, and facilitating collective philanthropic involvement in the 2020 Census.
Foundations can help ensure the preservation of a robust, comprehensive ACS by supporting national advocacy organization efforts to educate Congress and the public about the survey’s importance. Funders can stay abreast of policy developments affecting the ACS, and work collaboratively through philanthropic networks to shine a light on the threat to evidence-based decision-making, through FCCP’s Funders Census Initiative (FCI) 2020.
The U.S. Census Bureau is planning major reforms for the way it counts the population, but big changes mean big challenges for funders and grantees that care about an accurate census in underrepresented and underserved communities.
On October 6th, the U.S Census Bureau released its baseline 2020 Census Operational Plan. Already a year behind schedule due to budget constraints, but well ahead of the same milestone for the 2010 Census, the preliminary plan puts “meat on the bones” of sweeping design reforms the Bureau has been researching and testing since the beginning of the decade.
The Funders’ Committee on Civic Participation (FCCP) helped FCI establish its focus and mission and provided the infrastructure through which foundations and affinity groups could discuss ideas, share experiences and information, and maximize their resources by reducing duplication of effort and identifying target areas with the greatest need.