About the Census
The decennial census count is mandated by the Constitution and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency. The 2020 census counts every person residing in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Participation in the census is required by law, even if you recently completed another survey from the Census Bureau.
Each household will receive an invitation to respond to a short questionnaire—online, by phone or by mail. This year’s census is the first time that residents will be able to respond online. To view an informational copy of the 2020 census questionnaire, please click here.
The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, grantmakers, nonprofit organizations and many others use to provide daily services, products and support for the community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go toward hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads and other community resources based on census data.
The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts. Responses to the 2020 census are safe, secure and protected by federal law. Answers can only be used to produce statistics, and they cannot be used against respondents by any government agency or court in any way.
Census 2020: What’s At Stake For Arizona
The census plays an important role in determining the amount of federal funding Arizona receives. The $675 billion available to states every year is based on population. This year, it is critical that every Arizonan is counted to ensure that our state, counties and cities can provide the necessary services for our growing population.
An estimated $3,000 per person in Arizona per year is at stake. That is more than $20 billion annually to help support Arizona’s communities. In fact, for every Arizonan who does not respond to the census, the state stands to lose $887 in federal funding. Just a 1% undercount would represent a loss to the state of $62 million per year for a decade, for a total loss of $620 million.
The census also impacts our political representation. Arizona stands to gain an additional representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. Our local political boundaries are also based on census data, from our school districts to our state legislature.
Hard-to-count areas are communities with historically low response rates to the census. In Arizona, hard-to-count areas are located across the entire state, but in general, we see lower response rates for these communities:
- Rural areas
- College students
- Children under 5 years old
- Faith-based communities
- Tribal communities
Gov. Doug Ducey established the Arizona Complete Count Committee, a diverse group of Arizonans developing and executing a comprehensive outreach and marketing plan to educate Arizonans about participation in the 2020 census. The work of the AZCCC supports the efforts of communities across the state, develops strategies for working with state agencies and ensures that our partners at the federal level can maximize their counting effort in the state.
Janice Palmer, vice president and director of policy at Helios Education Foundation and member of the Arizona Grantmakers Forum board of directors, serves on the Arizona Complete Count Committee as the philanthropic partnership liaison.
Please check this page often for up-to-date opportunities to support local outreach initiatives for the 2020 census.
All around the country, philanthropy is mobilizing to ensure a fair and accurate census. As your foundation is considering how it may engage, the Funders Census Initiative, a working group of Funders Committee for Civic Participation, and United Philanthropy Forum have put together a menu of options for funder participation.
Local leaders can help the Arizona 2020 census make sure their communities are counted by reaching out directly to their residents with information about participation in the 2020 census. To help spread the word, explore this toolkit.
This interactive tool allows users to search by address, ZIP code, landmark, county, state or legislative district in order to prioritize hard-to-count communities in their outreach campaigns.
The Census Counts Coalition’s toolkit aims to support outreach efforts so every person in every community is counted. The toolkit pulls together resources on background, GOTC outreach, cybersecurity, an accessible GOTC plan and other materials.
Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation has provided an updated fact sheet based on the latest announcements from the U.S. Census Bureau about ongoing census activities and schedules.