Why Everyone Must Count in 2020

by Peter Chen

Although April 2020 seems far away, communities need to start planning now for the 2020 Census. Communities that are not fully counted in 2020 will miss out for the next ten years. This is the time to get involved.

United States Census 2020 logo, 2020census.gov

New Jersey stands to lose billions in federal funding, including support for critical programs such as children’s health insurance, school funding, school lunch and breakfast programs, Head Start, highway funding, college scholarships, and housing programs. For a list of programs affected by Census counts, see here

As one of the nation’s most diverse states, New Jersey is at particular risk for an undercount. Residents who are part of a racial or ethnic minority, who rent their home, who are immigrants, or who are children under 5 are at high risk of being missed.

How can you help?

  1. Join local Complete Count efforts. More than in the past, we will need trusted messengers in neighborhoods to get the word out about Census. That means you! Local communities across the state are forming Complete Count Committees. Contact your local city or county government to get involved. If your organization would like to join the Census 2020 NJ Coalition, please sign up here.
  2. Sign the Census Pledge that you will be counted in 2020. Civil rights groups from across the country are encouraging local groups to pledge to be counted.
  3. Learn more about the 2020 Census on the 2020censusnj.org website.
  4. Get organized. The statewide nonprofit coalition is organizing trainings on the Census throughout the state for community and local groups and coalitions. If you would like to organize a training or education session for your community, contact Peter Chen at pchen@acnj.org.

For more information on the upcoming Census check out the resources on the Census Counts website organized by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. Thank you!

Peter Chen is policy counsel at Advocates for Children of New Jersey (ACNJ), a statewide child research and action organization that works with local, state and federal leaders to identify and implement changes that will benefit New Jersey’s children. His work includes coordinating non-profit and community-based organizations on Census outreach in 2020.