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USHLI 2020 Census Update

The Census Bureau is carefully reassessing its April 1 Census rollout. Due to health and safety reasons, person-to-person contact will be kept to a minimum. Information booths will not be put up in public places. The closing of most if not all public schools and colleges will obviously necessitate changing outreach strategies, making information dissemination more difficult but also more vital.

College students whose schools are being closed will need to use their school address in their response and not their parent’s address, even if they’ve returned home. Well-resourced churches may need to televise their services making parishioners less accessible. These are just a few of the changes that will affect the feasibility of a complete and accurate count.

This will place a very high reliance on self-responses, meaning every possible medium of mass communication will need to be utilized to urge people to complete and return the form. This will include television, radio, all conceivable social media platforms, and organizational networks. 

People will be urged to manually complete the form or respond online or call-in their information directly into the Census Bureau. Census Bureau personnel will be able to handle call-in responses in 13 languages including Spanish. If callers are put on hold for more than five minutes, they will be asked to provide their number and get a call back.   

Chances are these adjustments could yield a fairly accurate count or produce the biggest undercount in history. It all depends on how strategically and aggressively we saturate the general public with useful information, especially “hard-to-count” communities. Community based organizations working with the Census will need to become highly reliable sources of information for people who may need help.

About USHLI

USHLI is an award-winning Chicago-based national non-profit, non-partisan, tax-exempt organization. Since 1982, USHLI has registered 2.3 million new voters; published 425 reports on Latino demographics and the Almanac of Latino Politics; sponsored 38 national conferences, each attended by leaders from 40 states; trained over 1.1 million present and future leaders; and awarded over $1.3 million in scholarships and internships.
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