Why is the Census important to you?
Any day you should receive notice in the mail about the 2010 Census. The official questionnaire will follow the initial announcement one week later in mid-March.
The federal government distributes more than $400 billion a year to state, tribal and local governments based on the decennial Census count. And every ten years some states gain seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and some lose, depending on what the Census numbers say about the relative sizes of their populations. The changing numbers require states to redraw Congressional District boundaries.
Yet to the despair of social justice advocates, populations that are most in need of community services, resources and civil rights enforcement have also been the hardest to count. In the Bay Area a number of foundations have helped to mobilize outreach in historically undercounted populations by awarding grants to grassroots organizations with extensive reach in their communities.
When it comes to filling out box #9 with regards to race, advocacy organizations will also play a critical educational role to show how individuals can “self-select” by choosing more than one race or “some other race” to identify as multi-racial or by national origin. For example, some might choose to enter Afghan, Sikh, Maya or Haitian. This widely-syndicated article by the Associated Press describes how some Caribbean-American leaders are urging their communities to write their nationalities on the line under “some other race” on the forms, along with checking the racial categories they feel identify them best.
While the way race is counted is an important evolution in the Census, it remains to be seen how the Census Bureau will tabulate the write-in selections in 2011.
Articles and Resources on Census 2010
- Nonprofits Count!: A project of the Nonprofit Voter Engagement Network, this website provides information, including best practices, on how nonprofit organizations and human services agencies can help produce an accurate count of hard-to-count populations.
- Mapping Hard-to-Count Communities: Hard-to-Count (HTC) populations are groups that may have a higher non-response rate on the 2010 Census. With support from The California Endowment, Healthy Cities has generated a portal through which Census stakeholders may locate communities at risk for undercounting in California.
- Justice Department Confirms Confidentiality of Census Information – March 5, 2010 article by the Washington Post
- The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
- Census History: Counting Hispanics – March 3, 2010 article by the Pew Hispanic Center
- Census: Battleground for Money and Justice – February 17, 2010 by Blue Avocado
- Most View Census Positively, But Some Have Doubts – February 12, 2010 by The Pew Research Center for the People & The Press
- California Complete Count Committee
- The Census Project Blog: A collaboration of state and local governments, civil rights and labor groups, housing and child advocates, businesses, professional societies, and research organizations interested in a fair and accurate Census 2010
- Brookings Institution Census Information
- Census 2010 Grants Will Bring Visibility to Hard-to-Count Populations – The San Francisco Foundation
- New York Foundations Push to Get Accurate Census Count – Philanthropy News Digest
- Private foundations offer millions to ensure accurate census count – Contra Costa Times
- The California Endowment has awarded nearly 11,000 grants across California totaling more than $1.9 billion.