Ensuring an Accurate Count

By Jeffrey Connor-Naylor Deputy Director, ReadyNation

We wouldn’t want an airline pilot to fly without their glasses, and we wouldn’t want our companies to make strategic decisions without accurate information. Every 10 years, the United States counts all residents living in the country, and the information the count produces is critical for our data-driven economy. It is a key ingredient in market and economic analyses, and businesses use it to determine future investments in product and service development, R&D, and more. It is also used to determine representation in our government and the allocation of more than $1.5 trillion in federal resources for key services like education, roads, health care, police and much more. Census data is used in so many ways that it is difficult to quantify the full scope of its economic impact.

You probably already know that the next nationwide count begins this spring. Companies can help ensure its accuracy by encouraging employees and customers to participate, especially those who have been difficult to reach in previous counts. These include communities of color, low-wage households, young adults, children under the age of five, immigrants, senior citizens, and rural households. Educating and encouraging these groups to respond early–in March and April 2020–is important and will help the Census Bureau focus its limited resources on those who are especially hard-to-reach.

Some innovative ideas that companies have been using to date to reach employees and customers with this information are:

  • Microsoft and Cisco have partnered with the Maricopa Association of Governments and the City of Phoenix, AZ to equip six vans with internet access and equipment to help educate residents about the census and provide a mobile venue to complete the questionnaire.
  • H-E-B is promoting the effort in all 321 Texas stores as well as producing a public service announcement that will play on social media channels.
  • Univision’s community engagement teams will be working with nonprofit partners promoting the 2020 Census at local festivals and other community events. They will also promote the count on their radio and television networks in addition to encouraging employees to participate.
  • DTE Energy has committed financial resources to Detroit’s census initiative “Be Counted Detroit.” They have published blog posts on their website about the census and plan to put messages about the census into customer bills. They also plan to encourage their large employee and contractor network to participate and ask that they also encourage their families and friends to do the same.

Now that the 2020 Census is right around the corner, there are a range of available resources and materials to help companies participate. More support will be coming, so check back with these websites regularly: 

If you have any questions about the census or how business can help, contact Jeff Connor-Naylor from ReadyNation and Business for the 2020 Census at jnaylor@readynation.org.

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