Federal law requires the U.S. Census Bureau ensure all census-related information that is collected be kept strictly confidential. This includes individual addresses and any geographic information that could be used to identify the location of living quarters. All local officials who are involved in the process must agree to confidentiality and security guidelines. They also must destroy or return all collected information when the census is complete.
Even though the census count does not start until 2020, community leaders can serve as trusted messengers to targeted groups to encourage their participation. Organizations can raise the visibility of the census through community and media events, promotion and publicity, direct communication to membership and volunteers, and social media.
The 2020 Census will rely more than ever before on computer-based surveys for the count instead of paper forms, as it has in the past. This new approach will be a challenge for people who have limited access to computers, digital devices, and broadband internet service. In addition, people with limited proficiency in English may need assistance from translation services. Community centers can provide access to technology, including skilled volunteers, and language interpreters to help achieve a full count.
New York State is working with the U.S. Census Bureau and other partners to make available technical assistance for local communities, including:
- Cornell University’s Program on Applied Demographics is supporting New York’s 2020 Census efforts by providing tools and training, and technical support to local governments. Cornell has created the New York Block Browser LUCA Evaluation System (NYBBLES) to help compare Census Block data to local address data sources.
- The New York State Data Center technical assistance website offers resources for local governments, including answers to frequently asked questions.
- A regularly updated list of upcoming training sessions and webinars can also be found on the New York State Council on Children and Families. Past Webinars are recorded for viewing at any time.
- The 2020 Census Hard to Count Map - a joint collaboration between the CUNY Mapping Service at CUNY’s Graduate Center and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights - and the Census Bureau’s Response Outreach Area Mapper (ROAM) are two map-based products that can help you learn more about the characteristics of your community. You can use these maps to identify census tracts in your community that have higher proportions of hard-to-count population. These maps use slightly different data sources, so note that information between the two is not directly comparable.
- George Washington University’s Counting for Dollars study describes the relationship between an accurate census count and New York’s federal funding – these numbers can help you and your stakeholders understand the impact that their omission from the count could have on their community’s funding.
- The National Association of Latino Elected & Appointed Officials (NALEO) Education Fund has begun a Get-Out-the-Count SMS Campaign. You, or your organization’s stakeholders, can text “CENSUS” to 97779 to receive text message updates from the NALEO Education Fund about the 2020 Census.
- The Census Bureau also provides updates about its surveys through either text or email, register here.