Making sure everyone is counted. Census during COVID-19
Making sure everyone is counted in the Census is difficult in the best of times. The census aims for a 100% count of the population and is critical to making sure we have an accurate count of the population distribution and the demographic characteristics of the population (race, gender, ethnicity, household composition, etc.). It determines the allocation of congressional seats and distribution of billions of dollars of federal aid to local communities. These forms can be filled out quickly online, in multiple - but not all - languages, or in written form through phone or in-person interviews. Historically, the Census hires thousands or organizers to go door-to-door to complete these interviews. This effort is supplemented by efforts by more than 300,00 trusted nonprofits and local groups who encourage parcipation in their communities, i.e. trusted local community leaders able to reach vulnerable populations who may be distrustful of government for a variety of reasons. This challenge aims to help these local groups reach hard-to-reach populations, particularly non-English speaking or immigrant residents, homeless individuals, and undergraduate, graduate and PhD students living off campus who have dispersed temporarily to other locationsand will not receive mail reminders at their school residencies, and more. There are a number of challenges (1) reaching people (2) gaining their trust/convincing them to participate, and (3) explaining the process of completing the census online or by phone during Covid19. Census collection is underway and the scheduled completion data is July 31st.