How Planners Can Help the Census to a Strong Finish in 2020

The 2020 Census is sorely lacking in leadership, but planners can help.

1 minute read

September 13, 2020, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


"Planners must embrace their roles as facilitators of effective outreach to ensure that an undercount of the nation’s younger, lower-income, and black and brown residents is avoided in the 2020 Census," according to an article by Emily Pasi, posted on the American Planning Association's blog, which both makes the case for the importance of an accurate Census for the field of professional planning and also explains how planners can work to ensure an accurate count. 

The Census needs all the help it can get after being delayed and frustrated by the pandemic as well as aborted and obstructed by the dubious political motivations of the Trump administration, the communities most in need of an accurate count are the least likely to achieve an accurate count.

With knowledge of these challenges as context, the article provides four recommendations for planners to take a leadership role in improving this challenged Census. With more details in the article, the four "low-cost" recommendations are as follows:

  1. Work with the municipality to help Census takers gain access to apartment and condominium buildings. 
  2. Help your complete count committee identify places frequented by residents without homes.
  3. Tap trusted community influencers to talk Census.
  4. Meet people where they are.

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