Today is April 1st — Census Day! The Census is about more than one family or one community – it’s about making sure our nation is represented accurately.  

The census is a critical tool that helps inform political representation through redistricting and the distribution of over 1.5 trillion dollars in federal funds. It is vital that marginalized populations across the U.S. are counted in the Census, forcing lawmakers to consider the needs of these communities.  

Women experiencing poverty and homelessness, and survivors of domestic violence are examples of populations disproportionately left out of the Census, especially women of color.  For the 2020 census, the Urban Institute predicts as much as a 3.68 percent undercount of Black people and up to a 3.57 percent undercount of Latinx people.  

Census data impacts funding for programs such as Medicaid and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and provides valuable data for programs under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA). These programs help women across the United States and could lose funding or support if Census data does not accurately reflect the populations they serve.  

The COVID-19 pandemic may prevent or delay the U.S. Census Bureau from visiting households, making it even more likely that people experiencing poverty or who don’t have regular access to the internet will be missed by the census. Thankfully, a variety of Internet providers are offering free Wi-Fi, which may help lower the burden on low-income populations to fill the census. 

Here’s what you can do as the 2020 Census data is being collected:  

  • Fill and submit your Census as soon as possible – onlineover the phone, or by mail. Beginning March 12th, all households in the U.S. started to receive a letter in the mail with a unique Census ID. The letter contains instructions on how to respond.  
  • Encourage others in your chapters and communities to submit their Census and offer support or assistance where needed.  
  • Post on social media about the importance of filling the Census and making sure our government has accurate data on the U.S. population – you can find additional messaging tips from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights here

Together we can make sure that women and communities of color are counted!