As Important as the Next Big Election? 2020 Census

And what the creative community can do about it

We know the importance of voting and the impacts it has on our nation every election day.

But what about the Census? Every ten years there’s a count of the population of the United States and the next Census count is coming up in 2020.

The Census sets our country’s trajectory for the next decade, determining congressional apportionment (the number of seats each state gets in the House of Representatives), redistricting, and the allocation of billions of dollars annually distributed to cities across the nation.

Basically:

Census = Money + Power

The Census determines over $675 billion* annually, which is $1,800 per person, per year. Its data is made publicly available, and referenced by countless organizations when making business, philanthropy and research decisions. Not participating in the Census means less funding for communities, resulting in fewer dollars for social services, schools, healthcare, bridges, roads, housing, infrastructure and essential services overall — including congressional representation for the next ten years.

But despite how important the census is, there is a great risk for an undercount for 2020 because of a few big reasons:

  • This Census is the first ever “digital” census, which means there’s now an option to fill out each household census online. This is empowering in some ways, but there are some real and perceived risks around participation and data security.
  • We’re in a radically different media landscape than 10 years ago, and content about the Census hasn’t caught up. With the rise of social, news and media fragmentation, there’s a real data void when it comes to reliable, accessible information about all things Census. There’s a need for more accurate, engaging content on media channels that people use the most in 2020.
  • Only 54% of millennials (ages 22–37) surveyed have the intent to respond to the Census. Millennials are one of the most influential groups, but are projected to be undercounted as they’re more transient than other population groups. If millennials are not counted, their communities will lose out on programs relevant to them and their dependents.
Photos by Auma Morris

That’s why Shared Mission Network Collaborator and co-founder of the Census Open Innovation Lab at the Federal Census Bureau, Mara Abrams inspired us here at enso to get involved, and start getting the creative community “Census Woke”, as we’ve been referring to it. In November, we co-hosted Creatives #ForTheCount, a Create-a-Thon with our friends at USC Annenberg Innovation Lab, calling all creatives — designers, writers, storytellers, technologists, comedians, influencers, and internet aficionados — to create content that brings the Census to the top of people’s minds, Instagram feeds and inoculate against disinformation.

Here are a few of our favorite memes that came out of the evening:

Thanks to our partners who made the evening possible: USC Annenberg Innovation Lab, Red Bull and California Endowment and all of our amazing participants.

If you want to stay involved, you can request to join the #CreativesForTheCount Slack channel.


enso is a creative impact agency.

We work with innovative companies and organizations to create positive impact at scale through shared missions. Learn more at enso.co.