Census and Data Equity
Promoting smart investments and policies to ensure a fair and accurate census and data collection that serves our communities
In order to tackle some of the most complex civil rights crises facing us today, our nation first needs complete, accurate, and disaggregated data to give us a full understanding of who is impacted and how situations are evolving. Data are necessary, even though not sufficient, to advance equity and justice.
Nowhere is that endeavor more clear than with the national decennial census. The U.S. Constitution places the census at the core of our democratic system of government by calling for a count of the nation’s population every 10 years. The census and the related American Community Survey provide information that is the cornerstone of knowledge about the American people.
Census data shape the future of our community and define our voices in Congress. It determines how more than $1.5 trillion in federal government resources are distributed each year; where schools, roads, and hospitals are built; how many congressional seats are apportioned among the states; and allocates political representation in Congress, statehouses, and local legislative bodies. When communities are missed in the census, they are deprived of equitable political representation and access to critical resources.
Counting every person residing in the United States is a difficult endeavor, and despite the Census Bureau’s best efforts, some households are missed by the count, some are counted more than once, and still others respond with incorrect information. However, because the accuracy of the census directly affects our nation’s ability to ensure equal representation and equal access to important governmental resources for all people in America, ensuring a fair and accurate census must be regarded as one of the most significant civil rights issues facing the country today.
Roadmap to the 2030 Census
As we make our way to 2030, there are a number of steps and milestones to achieve in preparation for the census. Our roadmap outlines best practices of the 2020 Census and the importance of engaging communities early for the next census count.
Census Task Force
The Census Task Force, housed at The Leadership Conference, is made up of core national members of the civil rights community with expertise in the census. The task force seeks to educate and influence Congress and the executive branch about the government investment and sound policy development needed to ensure a comprehensive American Community Survey and a fair and accurate census in every one of the nation’s communities.
The Census Counts campaign, housed at The Leadership Conference Education Fund, is a collaborative effort involving organizations that live and work in the communities most at risk of being missed in the census. Through education, training, organizing, and outreach, these organizers and advocates work to ensure that the hardest-to-count communities are counted in the census.
States COUNT Action Network
The States COUNT Action Network was established as a space to hold field strategy discussions and provide resources for the get-out-the-count (GOTC) phase of the 2020 Census. S-CAN, housed under Census Counts and jointly run with State Voices, consists of state and national groups with state affiliates that include advocacy organizations, direct service providers, and more. S-CAN continues to update members on the latest post-2020 Census operational developments and provide resources to prepare for the 2030 Census.
The data equity program is meeting the need to achieve better data collection policies by working to ensure that national and state partners have the information, strategies, and resources to yield more robust and inclusive data collection, analysis, and reporting and use that data to identify and remedy disparities that undermine equal opportunity and harm vulnerable communities.
Reflections on Black History Month: Finding Ourselves in Data
Data must reflect the true nature of our country.
Census Counts, housed at The Leadership Conference Education Fund, has all the resources you need to educate, mobilize, and assist your community in participating in the 2030 Census. Check out our resource library to learn more and get started.