Now is the time to act to ensure a fair and accurate census

Written by: NCRP

Date: April 02, 2018

Today we join FCCP’s Funders Census Initiative, United Philanthropy Forum and other philanthropy serving organizations around the country in asking our members and supporters to commit to a fair and accurate census.

“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.

We know the census matters to the issues and communities you care about. For example:


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.

Communities of color

Did you know that Latinos, Asian Americans and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders, African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives have been undercounted for decades, disadvantaging their families, communities and neighborhoods?

Healthy communities

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. 

For more information on these and other federal programs, please see the Counting for Dollars analysis.

For more information on hard-to-count populations, including state-level data, please visit the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights Census.

The 2020 Census is facing unprecedented challenges, and 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.


Philanthropy and the 2020 Census: A once-in-a-decade chance to get it right
by Vanita Gupta

So what can you do? Here are the top THREE things you can do TODAY:

1. 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. 

2. Join the Funders Census Initiative, United Philanthropy Forum and our co-sponsoring partners on April 9 for a webinar on “Participate. Convene. Invest.: A Call to Action for the 2020 Census” Register Here.

3. 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 an FCCP member to join.

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!

Image by Nick Youngson. Used under Creative Commons license.