How did Colorado's 2020 count turn out?
- 70 percent of Coloradans self-responded
- Colorado ranked 14th in the nation
- This response rate is about 3 percentage points higher than 2010
- Half of Colorado cities and towns had response rates of 60 percent or higher
Why does the 2020 Census matter?
The U.S. Constitution requires a national census every 10 years. Information from the Census Bureau (including data used by third-party researchers) affects the following:
- Data - serving the various populations in the U.S. requires information about who they are and where they live. Census data informs service delivery by nonprofits and governments, where businesses locate their operations, and more.
- Dollars - The Census informs how federal assistance is allocated throughout the country. This includes federal benefits and federal grant programs including Medicaid, Head Start, the National School Lunch Program, and more.
- Democracy - The Census is the basis for allocation of Congressional and state legislative districts and drawing of district boundaries.
How is Colorado affected by the 2020 Census?
- More than $19 billion is allocated per year to Colorado based on the 2010 Census, according to George Washington University.
- Colorado gains at least $32,000 in federal funds over the next decade for each person counted
- Colorado is projected to gain an 8th U.S. Representative based on the 2020 Census count
- Colorado's population has grown by nearly 12 percent since 2010 and our 2020 count ought to reflect this growth.
Why is it important for nonprofits to get the word out?
Census operations have been more limited in 2020 than in the past and have been disrupted further by COVID-19. Debates over Census 2020 funding in Congress have resulted in the Census Bureau conducting a more limited operation compared to 2010. For this reason, many states and local governments, including Colorado, provided addtional funding to help local governments, businesses, nonprofits, and schools to play a larger role in assisting with the Census.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the Census Bureau delaying many field operations in mid-March to comply with federal and state stay-at-home orders and physical distancing requirements. Not only did this delay in-person events and outreach to promote Census response but it also impacted specific outreach efforts to reach communities that would not be able to easily respond online or receive a postcard at a physical home address. This has also delayed the final date for responding to the Census. For nonprofits, this meant shifting the focus from in-person outreach strategies to phone and online strategies.
Nonprofits serve many populations and communities have been undercounted in the past. These populations include people experiencing homelessness, people with disabilities, children under the age of 5, immigrants, people in rural areas, and communities of color. These populations are more likely to complete the Census if they are encouraged by others in their own communities. Because they are often trusted voices within their communities and with the populations they serve, nonprofits are uniquely positioned to encourage those who may not be counted otherwise. Being counted ensures that communities paying taxes to ther federal government also receive their fair share of federal resources.
Online completion of the Census has been difficult for households with insufficient access to the internet. 2020 marks the first time that Census responses will be collected primarily by an online form. Most households will receive a postcard with a code directing them to fill out the form online. Completing the form will be more difficult for households that do not have reliable internet access. The Census Bureau has allowed households to complete the form by phone and will mail questionnaires to households in designated areas with limited broadband access. Nonprofits can help encourage households to complete the form online, provide information on other options for completing the form, and facilitate access to the internet or internet enabled devices.
Households that self-respond as soon as possible can avoid in-person follow up from the Census Bureau. After a series of reminders, the Census Bureau sends enumerators to collect information from households that have not yet responded. Even though Census workers are not allowed to go inside households, having a visit from an uninvited guest can be an inconvenience. More importantly, visits by government employees may cause anxiety for households with family members born in other countries or people who mistrust the government.
What resources are available to help nonprofits to get the word out?
- Together We Count is a Colorado nonprofit dedicated to helping Coloradans with resources and questions about the 2020 Census
- Questions can be posted on the chat box on TWC's website or text 303-622-5881 for assistance in English and Spanish
- The Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) hosts the state website about the Census including sample messaging
- Community Outreach Toolkiit
- Census help phone lines
- The Self-Response Rate Map provides real-time response rates to help each community track the count and identify undercounted areas
- Census Bureau language support- translated materials in over 59 languages
- Questionnaire Assistance– Guide with provides many questionnaire assistance tips and help with filling out the form