Today we join Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation (FCCP) Funders Census Initiative, United Philanthropy Forum, the Massachusetts Census Equity Fund 2020, Associated Grant Makers, and Philanthropy Serving Organizations around the country in asking our members to commit to a fair and accurate census. Read here for more, and at the end of this email you’ll find Four Things You Can Do Today to take action on Census 2020!
“Census Day,” April 1, 2020, is now less than two years away and the time to act is now!
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.
Of that $600 billion, $16 billion distributed to our state based on census data. Furthermore, in 10 of the 14 counties in Massachusetts, we have significant hard-to-count communities that had low mail response rates in the 2010 census. (Two addition counties, Nantucket and Dukes, did not receive a mailed census questionnaire. Instead, census takers enumerated residents from home visits. Net undercounts in tracts like this was nearly 8%, according to the Census Bureau. Therefore, these areas may also be hard to count in 2020.) 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.
Of that $600 billion, census data guide the distribution of billions for programs focused on ensuring healthy communities - $312 billion in Medicaid dollars, $69 billion to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), $64 billion in Medicare Part B dollars, $11 billion to the National School Lunch Program, and $11 billion to the State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (S-CHIP), among others.
Of that $600 billion, census data guide the distribution of billions for educational programs - $14 billion to Title I grants to local education agencies, $11 billion to the National School Lunch Program, and $11 billion to special education grants (IDEA), among others.
Of that $600 billion, census data guide the distribution of billions for housing programs - $1 billion to Section 8 housing choice vouchers and $9 billion to Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments Programs, among others.
Of that $600 billion, census data guide the distribution of billions for programs focused on children - $69 billion to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), $14 billion to Title I grants to local education agencies, $11 billion to the National School Lunch Program, $11 billion to the State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (S-CHIP), $11 billion to the National School Lunch Program, and $11 billion to special education grants (IDEA), among others. Did you know that children under age five are the most likely of all age groups to be undercounted? In 2010, the undercount rate for young children was 4.6 percent, and more than 2.2 million in this age group were not included in the census results.
Did you know that Latinos have been undercounted for decades, disadvantaging their families, communities, and neighborhoods? In 2010, Hispanic children under age five were overlooked at twice the rate of young non-Hispanic White children, and up to 400,000 young Latino children were missed. Young Latino men are also at risk of being undercounted, in part because they are overrepresented in the criminal justice system and also have lower rates of citizenship.
Did you know that Asian Americans and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) communities have been undercounted for decades, disadvantaging their families, communities, and neighborhoods? Roughly one in five Asian Americans live in hard-to-count census tracts, along with one third of NHPI.
Did you know that African Americans have been undercounted for decades, disadvantaging their families, communities, and neighborhoods? The 2010 Census undercounted the African American population by more than 2 percent, and approximately 6.5 percent of young African American children were overlooked, roughly twice the rate for young non-Hispanic white children. Also startling, the net undercount of Black men between the ages of 30-49 was more than 10 percent. Today, more than one in three African Americans live in hard-to-count census tracts.
American Indians and Alaska Natives
Did you know that American Indians and Alaska Natives have been undercounted for decades, disadvantaging their families, communities, and neighborhoods? Today, roughly one quarter of Native Americans live in hard-to-count census tracts.
Without accurate census data, the communities you care about could see less investment in their vital public and private resources. For more information, including state-specific data, please visit the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights Census webpage. For more information on the federal programs mentioned above and more, please see the Counting for Dollars analysis.
The 2020 Census is facing unprecedented challenges, mostly recently the Commerce Department’s announcement to add a citizenship question to the 2020 decennial census, in response to a request from the Department of Justice. FCI hosted an emergency briefing on this issue on March 29, 2018, please complete this form to receive a link to the recording. 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.
So what can you do?
Here are the top FOUR things you can do TODAY:
- Join the Massachusetts Census Equity Fund 2020. This collaboration will support a coordinated state-wide campaign educating stakeholders, community leaders, elected officials, the media and the general public on the importance of the 2020 Census on our Commonwealth, and will work to increase the response rate in hard-to-count communities to achieve an equitable Census count.
- Review the Funder Menu of Options created in partnership by United Philanthropy Forum and the Funders Census Initiative (FCI 2020) to help funders identify what they can to do.
- Join the Funders Census Initiative, United Philanthropy Forum, and our co-sponsoring partners on April 9th for a webinar on “Participate. Convene. Invest.: A Call to Action for the 2020 Census” - Register Here
- Join the Funders Census Initiative Working Group. As a 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.
Please contact Jeff Poulos at Associated Grant Makers with any questions. Also, check out the FCI and Forum websites for a library of resources and information on the census.
Thank you for your commitment to making sure that Everyone Counts!