Online Tools Track Census Participation, Estimate Funding at Stake

Categories: Census, News

The 2010 Census is under way and the Census Bureau has reported an approximate 52 percent national participation rate.

According to the Census Bureau’s Take 10 Challenge Map, states reporting the highest participation rates include Wisconsin (62 percent), South Dakota (62 percent), North Dakota (61 percent), Nebraska (61 percent), and Iowa (60 percent). The Take 10 map allows users to check response rates at the county and local level as well.

Census data are used to determine where and how more than $400 billion in government funding is spent each year. In the 2000 census, nearly 16 million people went uncounted.  Most of the people not counted came from low-income and minority populations.  (See to learn about which communities are classified as hard-to-count by the Census Bureau.)

A tool developed by Color of Change provides a creative and interesting way to estimate how much a community stands to lose in funding if census forms are not returned. Entering a zip code for New Orleans, Louisiana, for example, shows that the city could lose as much as $317 million a year in federal resources.

The Leadership Conference Education Fund and partner organizations have been working in more than a dozen cities to help ensure that traditionally hard-to-count communities participate in the census. During a National Week of Action in March, groups in Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, and other cities held events to provide information and encourage people to fill out and mail back their forms. 

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. member helping a resident fill out a
census form during a National Week of Action event in Houston.