• COUNT OF ALL PEOPLE IN THE US EVERY 10 YEARS: Every 10 years, the U.S. government counts every person living in the U.S., through the census. The census is a short questionnaire that asks basic information about your household and the people who live in it. (AAAJ)

Census 101 Factsheet

Official Census Questionnaire

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Respond to the Census

Census Bureau Factsheets



  • THE CENSUS BUREAU: The Census Bureau Regional Offices are responsible for data collection, data dissemination, and geographic operations. Missouri is part of the Chicago regional office (Census Bureau). 



  • THE CENSUS IS REQUIRED BY THE CONSTITUTION: The Constitution explicitly requires an “actual Enumeration” of “all persons,” imposing on the federal government the duty to count the “whole number of persons in each State.” (AAAJ, NALEO)



  • THE CENSUS DISTRIBUTES OVER $675 BILLION IN FEDERAL FUNDING: Census data determine how more than $675 billion are spent. (Census Bureau)  In FY2016, Missouri received $16,463,820,510 from data provided by the 2010 census. (George Washington University) 

  • THE CENSUS IS USED FOR REDISTRICTING AND APPORTIONMENT: States use the census results to redraw the boundaries of their congressional and state legislative districts, adapting to population shifts. (Census Bureau) Census numbers are used to determine political boundaries. (NonprofitVOTE,(MO Ballotpedia)

    • 8 Congressional Districts in Missouri 

    • 34 State Senate districts in Missouri 

    • 163 State House districts in Missouri 

    • Districts for City Councils, School Committees, County Boards

  • THE CENSUS IMPACTS POLICIES ABOUT CIVIL RIGHTS: The collection of accurate, comprehensive race and ethnicity data – as well as data on gender, age, and household composition in the census – is central to implementing, monitoring, and evaluating many civil rights laws and policies, including equal opportunity and access across all economic and social sectors of society, such as housing and the job market (AAAJ, NALEO)

  • CENSUS DATA IMPACTS PRIVATE INVESTMENT: Businesses large and small use census numbers to identify new markets, select sites for operations, make investment decisions, and determine the goods and services offered. (NonprofitVOTE)



  • UNDERCOUNTED GROUPS IN THE CENSUS: Hard-to-count groups are at risk of being undercounted in the 2020 census. These individuals are considered hard-to-locate; hard-to-contact; hard-to-persuade; and/or hard-to-interview. (NonproftVOTE.org)

  • Approximately 9% of Missouri's current population (or 543,160 people) lives in hard-to-count neighborhoods. (Census Hard to Count Maps 2020)

  • Scientific measurements of census accuracy since 1940 have shown a persistent, disproportionate undercount of certain population subgroups, which skews the results in favor of some communities over others. (Funders Census Initiative 2020)

Hard to Count Populations in the US Interactive Map



  • WHITE PEOPLE: In 2000 and 2010, non-Hispanic Whites were actually overcounted, according to the bureau’s analysis. (Funders Committee



  • DIFFERENTIAL UNDERCOUNT: The gap between census accuracy for non-Hispanic Whites and for all other race groups, between low- and high-income households, is called the differential undercount. It is this disparity that deprives underserved communities of political power, government resources and, often, private sector investment. (Funders Committee

  • An undercount, experts say, would also deeply disrupt federal funding for poverty and health care programs, transportation, school planning and even private sector investments in undercounted areas. (New York Times)



  • PAST MISUSE OF CENSUS DATA: It is true that the US government used 1940 census data to target and imprison Japanese-Americans during World War II. For that reason, a federal law was implemented to safeguard against personal information being released until 72 years after the data is collected. (NPR)

  • HOSTILE POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT: The hostile political environment toward immigrants make it difficult to trust government officials. Communities are told to not allow ICE agents in their homes, but at the same time, they are being told to allow census officials to come in and count them.  (New York Times)

    • There is uncertainty about how the Trump Administration may try to curtail federal laws using Patriot Act to procure personal data from the census. Also, census data may not reveal personal information, however, it CAN show where certain demographics are concentrated, which may prove enough for law enforcement agents to locate potential raids. (NPR) 

  • DISTRUST IN THE CONFIDENTIALITY OF DATA: There is fear that the information they provide on the census will be used against them or shared with ICE or other government officials with authority. (AAAJ, NALEO)

  • INTIMIDATION FROM THE CITIZENSHIP QUESTION: Though the census will not ask about citizenship, the Census Bureau’s own research found that asking questions about citizenship caused an “unprecedented groundswell in confidentiality and data-sharing concerns among immigrants or those who live with immigrants.(AAAJ, NALEO)

  • LOW KNOWLEDGE AND OR MISINFORMATION ABOUT THE CENSUS: Some communities may be misinformed about the purpose of the census, how it works, and what impact it has on themselves and their communities. They may also not know much about the census at all. (Census Bureau) 

Census Bureau Report on Barriers to Census Participation for Immigrants

Census Bureau Report on Barriers, Attitudes, and Motivators for the Census

Webinar for Census Bureau Barriers, Attitudes, and Motivators for Census



  • CENSUS DATA FUNDS RESOURCES FOR YOUR COMMUNITY: Census data determine how more than $675 billion are spent, supporting your clients’ state, county and community’s vital programs. Think about funding for hospitals, fire departments, parks, highways, and free and reduced lunch. (Census Bureau)

    • LESSENS THE DIFFERENTIAL UNDERCOUNT: By participating in the census, your clients can help to lessen the disparity that deprives underserved communities of resources and power.

  • CENSUS DATA AFFECTS HOW MANY REPS YOU GET IN CONGRESS: Census data influences how much political representation (or how many representatives) each state receives. Though non-citizens cannot vote in federal elections, the effects of political representation manifest in legislation that is relevant to citizens and non-citizens alike.

  • LANGUAGE ASSISTANCE IS AVAILABLE FOR THE CENSUS: The census will be available online and by phone in 12 non-English languages and in person in two languages. There are video and print guides available in 54 non-English languages.(Census Bureau) 

  • IF YOU TAKE THE CENSUS, NO ONE WILL COME TO YOUR DOOR. If you don’t answer the census at all, the Census Bureau might follow up to ask for the missing information, either by phone or by sending a Census Bureau worker to your home. 

  • THE GOVERNMENT CANNOT LEGALLY SHARE YOUR PERSONAL INFO: By law the government cannot share your information with immigration enforcement agencies, law enforcement agencies, or allow it to be used to determine your eligibility for government benefits. Census staffers must take a lifetime oath that they will never share your personal information. If they share info, they face a $250,000 fine, up to 5 years in prison, or both. That being said, census data is available 72 years after the data has been collected. (Census Bureau)

AAAJ Factsheet on How the Census Impacts Communities

Activist's Take on the Census for Undocumented 





  • The Census Bureau is not allowed to share your personal information with anyone, including ICE, police, or any other government agencies. The Census Bureau can only use your response to create general information about the population, like how many people live in your city, and statistics about age, gender, and race. The Census Bureau cannot share information about you as an individual. (AAAJ)

  • Census staffers must take a lifetime oath that they will never share your personal information. If they share anyone’s personal information, they face a $250,000 fine, up to 5 years in prison, or both. (Census Bureau)

  • Completing the census online requires no interaction with government officials, which means no one will come to your door. If you don’t answer the census at all, the Census Bureau might follow up to ask for the missing information, either by phone or by sending a Census Bureau worker to your home. 



  • The census will be available online, by phone, and by mail. Households will receive a mail-in self-response in March 2019. 



AANHPI (Asian American Native Haiwaiian Pacific Islander) Messaging (AAAJ)

  • COMMUNITY: “The census makes sure our community gets its fair share of resources. My community needs resources”

  • FAMILY: “Census data is critical to our children/families’ future and the next generation. It helps us get healthcare, transportation, schools, affordable housing, and higher education that our families need to get a good start and be successful.”

  • RESOURCES:  “Census data is used to determine not only federal funding for programs and services but businesses use it to decide where to invest and create jobs. Filling out the census makes sure you, your family, and community get a shot at these resources.”

  • HELPED IN PAST: “2010 showed in one major city that the Asian American community doubled in the previous ten years, which led to a $50 million increase in federal dollars for schools, hospitals, and services for kids.”

MENA (Middle-Eastern and Northern African) Messaging ((AAI)

  • COMMUNITY: “The community will benefit more if your community participates”

  • RESOURCES: “Census determines funding for local/state resources”

  • ACCESSIBILITY: “Census is easy to do and online.”

  • CONFIDENTIALITY: “Census protects personal data and your identity is anonymous”

Latinx Messaging (NALEO)

  • CONVENIENT, SAFE, REQUIRED: “Participating in the Census is safe and really easy, just a few clicks online. The Census protects your personal data and keeps your identity anonymous. By federal law, your response is required, and your information cannot be given out or shared”

  • FUNDING FOR LOCAL SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITY PROGRAMS: “The government relies on the Census population count to determine funding for state and local services, including education, police, fire, and health care. Our community schools, hospitals, and first responders are depending on us to do our part and participate in the Census”

Funders Census Initiative Resources on Messaging



  • CENSUS DATA ALLOCATES FUNDING YOUR ORGANIZATION MAY RECEIVE: Census data is used to determine allocation of critical funding that nonprofits and those you serve and engage rely on: (NonprofitVOTE)

    • Medicaid and maternal and child health programs

    • Transit programs

    • Public housing assistance

    • Community Development Block Grants

    • Head Start

    • Title I Education funds and grants for special and vocational education

  • CENSUS DATA IMPACTS YOUR GRANT-WRITING: Nonprofits may receive grants based on the populations they serve, which may be easily indicated in census data. If they cannot prove they are serving a community, they can’t receive funding. (NonprofitVOTE)

  • CENSUS DATA HELPS INFORM NEEDS OF THE COMMUNITY YOU SERVE: Census data provides demographic information, such as SES, race, gender, and ability status, which help community leaders and nonprofit organizations identify current and future needs for the communities they serve. (AAAJ, NALEO)

  • CENSUS DATA IMPACTS PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE: Governments use census numbers to locate vital public works: (NonprofitVOTE)

    • Schools

    • Health Centers

    • Public Transportation and Highways

    • Affordable Housing

NonprofitVote Info about Census and Its Impact on Nonprofits

Reuters Graphic on the Census and Funding of Resources



  • MAKE THE CENSUS A PRIORITY FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION: Make the census visible on in your agency, on your website and in the community. Add the census to all your communications (your e-newsletter, on a blog or in your social media) from now through April 2020. (NonprofitVOTE)

  • EDUCATE AND TRAIN YOUR STAFF: Find out what’s at stake for your state and local community in federal funds, political representation, public and private investment. Have your staff, volunteers, and board understand the importance of the census. Train them to answer basic questions about the census or know where to send people for help. (NonprofitVOTE)

  • DISSEMINATE ACCURATE INFO TO CLIENTS: Inform your clients about the importance of the census and its effect on them and their community. Provide info about community funding and general census process. Show evidence of the correlation between the census and the number of resources available to your community.

  • PROVIDE ASSURANCE TO CLIENTS: Assure your clients that the information they provide to the Census Bureau will be kept confidential and that if census officials release anyone’s information, they will face time in prison, a fine up to $250,000, or both. (Census Bureau)

  • SET UP CENSUS ASSISTANCE CENTERS FOR YOUR CLIENTS: You can set up assistance centers to help community members with their census questions and submitting their census forms. You can assist people at your own organization’s site, or you can work with trusted partners such as public libraries, schools, community centers, and more. You can provide computers at your organization for those you serve to complete the census online. (AAAJ)

  • CONNECT WITH YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY: Join or establish a Complete Count Committee in your area. Ask staff and constituents to get their friends and neighbors to complete the census online, by phone or by paper. Canvass neighborhoods to raise awareness about the census. (AAAJ)

  • COMMUNICATE WITH LOCAL MEDIA: Reach out to journalists who cover the census. Write op-eds, pitch stories, release PSAs. Have a relevant angle. (AAAJ)

Census Bureau Community-Based Organizations’ Toolkit for the Census

NonprofitVote on What Nonprofits Can Do for the Census

AAAJ CountUsIn2020.org Factsheet on Actions for CBOs

NALEO Census Communications Toolkit

Census Toolkit for Faith-Based Organizations