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2020 Census: Building Trust Amongst Hard to Count Populations

Since recently attending the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership’s 2017 Annual Conference, I was inspired to take a deeper look at the upcoming 2020 census. After being plagued by funding limitations, and the resignation of director, John Thompson, some might point at the 2020 census and utter the words “you in danger, girl!” Aside from the cheesy “Ghost” reference, the decennial census is argued to be an important measure that helps determine where federal funds are allocated, among other things.

However, some Americans are reluctant to participate in the 10 year count. The reason could be that some individuals are hesitant to trust something they truly don’t understand due to past experiences. And when you add the recent push to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, many might fear the Census is simply another measure used to identify and deport undocumented individuals.

The Census is aware of this mistrust, however, as evident through their recent push for what they’re calling “innovation labs”, workshops catered towards building trust amongst hard to reach populations. The key to reaching some of these populations lies in the census’s ability to educate and assure these individuals that this is a tool that benefits them in the long run. Whether or not these efforts will succeed is a topic for another day.