Census 2020: Making the Case for Philanthropy

It is difficult to overstate the importance of a complete and accurate census. The census is one of the most important elements of our democracy. A decennial census is mandated in the U.S. Constitution, and the principal use of the information collected is to apportion seats for the U.S. House of Representatives, but the data also serve many other purposes. Institutions across the country, including local and state governments, businesses, nonprofits and foundations, routinely rely on data from the census to allocate funding, define where services are delivered and promote economic development.

In fact, in Indiana, federal funding distributed as a result of our population count can be as much as $1,671 per capita, or more than $11billion.

The Census Bureau is facing a daunting set of challenges as it prepares for the 2020 census. Since the bureau is facing budget constraints like never before, it’s planning to collect the majority of census information online, scale back door-to- door outreach and roll back canvassing. The changes increase the potential of undercounting young children, minorities, low-income individuals and other marginalized individuals. The Indiana Philanthropy Alliance and other regional philanthropy associations and their members are needed to advocate and educate community elected officials and community leaders on the importance and impact of the 2020 census on their communities. Even without the changes being proposed for the 2020 census we know there were gross undercounts of vulnerable populations in the 2010 census. This is why the 2020 census matters to philanthropy.

IPA is happy to be a part of the United Philanthropy Forum’s Census 2020 project, funded through a grant from the Joyce Foundation. Our goal is to educate/increase awareness among our members and key stakeholder groups about the census and the importance of an accurate, fair, reliable count.

If you would like to learn more about the importance of the 2020 Census, contact Becky Honeywell, IPA’s director of membership and external relations, at 317.630.5200 x. 111 or bhoneywell@inphilanthropy.org

FY2019 Census Budget Letter

IPA and about 150 Census Project stakeholders co-signed a letter to Congressional policymakers urging them to add more funding to the Trump administration’s FY2019 requests for the 2020 Census. 

“We respectfully recommend that the committee allocate $4.735 billion for the Census Bureau in FY2019 —$933.50 million above the Administration’s request for the agency, and $912.5 million above the request of $3.015 billion for the 2020 Census,” the letter said. 

Describing FY2019 as “a critical year on the path toward the decennial census” the co-signature letter said the FY2019 ramp-up must include additional funding for more partnership specialists to encourage participation by hard-to-count communities, increased advertising/communications funds, additional local census offices and questionnaire assistance centers. The Census Project letter also called for a $300 million contingency fund “in the event of IT failures or natural disasters, including hurricanes and wildfires.”

Useful Links

Resources on the Census

    Publications and Reports