What is the Census?
We have one chance every 10 years to accurately count the people who live in our country. Census data directly impacts the allocation of federal funds to support programs like SNAP, Head Start, and School Lunch. Congressional representation, reapportionment, and redistricting are also determined by census data. Additionally, academic, think tank, and governmental research all draw on census data, leading to policy decisions with long-term implications. The census is mandated by Article I, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution and counts every person residing in the United States, regardless of their citizenship.
Everyone Counts: Census 2020
Everyone Counts: Census 2020 is Dominican’s university-wide community engagement theme, developed in partnership with Canal Alliance, and implemented in collaboration with the Marin Complete Count Committee, local non-profits, and governmental agencies. In fall 2019 and spring 2020, Dominican classes and staff departments are engaged in a series of projects to support an accurate census in Marin’s hard-to-count communities. Simultaneously, trusted messenger trainings and census taker application workshops are offered to all students and employees.
What are Hard-to-Count (HTC) Communities?
Due to limited fluency in English, housing instability, and poverty, some communities in Marin County — including Marin City, the Canal district, West Marin, and parts of Novato — face unique obstacles in participating in the census. Members of these HTC communities may also have limited access to or fluency with the internet, inhibiting their participation. For every Californian missed during the 2020 census, the State could lose approximately $1,950 per person, per year, for 10 years, in federal program funding.
- Hard to Interview – Participation hindered by language barriers, low literacy, lack of internet access
- Hard to Persuade – Suspicious of the government, low levels of civic engagement
- Hard to Locate – Non-conventional housing units and/or persons wanting to remain hidden
- Hard to Contact – Highly mobile, people experiencing homelessness, physical access barriers such as gated communities
Census Outreach Challenge
- High – Has all of the factors above
- Medium – Has two of the factors above
- Low – Has one of the factors above
Source: Stephanie McNally, 2019. Adapted from Chapin, Maryann M. “A Framework for Hard-to-Count Populations,” U.S. Census Bureau, n.d.
As Marin’s only four-year institution of higher learning, possessing strong ties in the community and a commitment to equity, Dominican is in a unique position to support complete count efforts.