Checking In on a Census ‘Homework Assignment’ for Cities and Counties


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These localities have already launched their Complete Count Committees and taken other proactive steps to avoid undercounting. Has yours?

Attention local government officials: Have you and your colleagues started thinking about the 2020 Census? Hint: Yes, you should be.

As Route Fifty reported in September from the International City / County Management Association’s annual conference in Baltimore, during one packed session, a regional manager for the U.S. Census Bureau had a “homework assignment” for cities and counties: forming local Complete Count Committees to help facilitate cross-sector outreach in communities to promote the importance of responding to the decennial census and limit undercounting.

Many local governments and other community stakeholders have taken action recently to form CCCs and other cross-sector efforts to support the 2020 Census.

  • In November, city and county officials in El Paso, Texas signed a joint-resolution to form a Complete County Committee, according to the El Paso Herald-Post. “Not only does an accurate count provide data on our population, but it ensures our community receives its fair share of state/federal funding, how best to distribute that funding and the number of elected representatives for our community,” said county Judge Ruben Vogt. “El Paso County is doing everything possible to reach hard to count areas and populations while ensuring the members of our community feel confident in their ability to be counted.”
  • This week in northern Arizona, officials in Coconino County and the city of Flagstaff discussed their census-preparation strategies during a joint city-county meeting, the Arizona Daily Sun reported. That includes a lot of hard work done thus far to have an accurate database of addresses across the county and identify census tracts with high student populations, which are traditionally harder-to-reach.
  • In October, officials from Allegheny County, Pennsylvania and the city of Pittsburgh announced the formation of a joint city-county Complete Count Committee to be co-chaired by local non-profit leaders and include a membership that spans a broad cross-section of civic organizations, non-profit groups, and academic institutions. During the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership’s annual meeting last week, John C. Yang, president and executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Asian Americans Advancing Justice told the gathering, according to the Tribune-Review: “The Pittsburgh region, frankly, is doing very well and is a little bit ahead of the curve. The fact that they’re very engaged at the local level 16 months out is very promising.”

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.

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