Detroit kicks off 2020 Census campaign, sets a goal of raising more than $3 Million for grassroots effort
- Be Counted Detroit campaign and Census Bureau look to hire more than 2,000 workers. Sign up now at www.detroitmi.gov
- Official Census count takes place from March 2020 – July 2020
A broad coalition of community groups and the City of Detroit today kicked off the Be Counted Detroit: Census 2020 campaign.
Be Counted Detroit, an effort led by the City of Detroit, will use grassroots, media and digital tools to engage people of all ages and backgrounds and build partnerships with nearly 100+ nonprofits, business and labor, community and faith based institutions, immigrant organizations and more.
The 2020 Census could not be more critical for Detroit. Detroit’s census numbers will determine how much federal funding the city will receive for programs like Medicare/Medicaid, food assistance, head start, funding for schools, road repairs, special education and much more.
The City lost hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of the 2010 census effort, which had no city budget to support it. That year, Detroit saw the largest drop in participation among all major American cities, going from a 70% participation rate in 2000 to 64% in 2010. For every person that is missed in the Census, Detroit will lose an estimated $1,800 in federal funding every year for the next decade.
Victoria Kovari, executive director of the Detroit 2020 census campaign, says “The City of Detroit is determined to count everyone and is launching an aggressive media and grassroots outreach campaign to educate and motivate Detroiters around the Census.”
Massive Hiring Effort
Detroit At Work has partnered with the U.S. Census Bureau to hire more than 2,000 workers as census enumerators, canvassers and office staff. Starting this summer, Be Counted Detroit will launch its own hiring effort and will hire Detroiters to serve as neighborhood census ambassadors, census canvassers and outreach leaders. To learn more, visit www.detroitmi.gov/census.
Census information to kept confidential
The campaign also will emphasize how, under federal law, any information gathered in the Census cannot be used for any other purpose or shared with any other government agency, law enforcement, private company, courts or individuals. The aim is to reassure everyone living in the United States, regardless of their immigration status, that information shared with Census workers is confidential and won’t be misused.
“There is nothing more important than ensuring that every Detroiter stand up and be counted during the Census,” Mayor Duggan said. “By law, Census information is kept confidential. It doesn’t matter what your immigration status is. It doesn’t matter where your car is registered. All that matters is whether you are living in Detroit on April 1, 2020. And if the answer is yes, fill out your Census form and be counted in Detroit.”
U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Detroit said the 2020 Census requires “all hands on deck from every level of government and every corner of our communities to ensure every person is counted.”
“I applaud the city of Detroit for taking the initiative to push for a comprehensive count, and I encourage all stakeholders to use innovative and inclusive methods to reach undercounted communities,” Congresswoman Tlaib said. “The Census is about representation, it’s about making sure our people are seen, and it’s about getting our communities the resources we need. I’m so glad to be a part of this push.”
100 assistance centers to bridge digital divide
Historically, the Census has disproportionately undercounted people of color, immigrants, young children and people living in poverty or homelessness. Additionally, the 2020 Census will be the first census to rely heavily on online responses, leaving those without internet access at risk of being undercounted. That’s why the City of Detroit will be establishing more than 100 locations across Detroit where people can go to get help or access computers to fill out their Census form online. Census forms will still be available by paper and can be completed by phone.
“Michigan and Detroit play a significant and important role in obtaining a complete and accurate count in the 2020 Census,” said Char Yates, spokesperson for the U.S. Census Bureau’s regional office in Chicago. “It is very important that Detroit receives its share of Census dollars, which will assist with the continued growth and prosperity of this important city. Our goal is to count everyone once, only once, and in the right place.”
To sign up to participate, go to www.detroitmi.gov/census.
Be Counted Detroit 2020 partners
- Quicken Loans Community Investment Fund
- Ridge Lane
- SAGA MKTG
- Second Ebenezer Church
- Service Employees International Union
- SER Metro
- Skillman Foundation
- Southwest Business Association
- The People's Action
- Unite HERE
- United Way for Southeastern Michigan
- Wayne Metro Community Action Agency
- Wayne State University
- WDIV-TV Local 4
What community members are saying about the Census
“It’s easy for folks to render others invisible if you don’t have numbers showing who they are. It’s important to recognize that during the white flight, when people were leaving Detroit, immigrants stayed here and contributed, but that contribution isn’t often recognized. If we know who is who and where they are, it will be easier for the city to provide a level of service that fits everybody’s needs and takes into consideration the needs of certain communities.”
Seydi Sarr, a west-side Detroiter and native of Senegal who immigrated to the city from France. She is founder and executive director of the African Bureau Immigration and Social Affairs.
“This is our chance to make an impact. Our ability to count all of us impacts how resources are distributed to Detroiters. We’re obligated to fight through our doubts and make a difference.”a
Yusef Bunchy Shakur, neighborhood organizer and resident of Detroit’s west side.
“It is without a doubt one of the most critical counts that Detroit could ever have, given the current climate of our country and the current advancement of our city. It’s important that the comeback that’s taking place in Detroit benefits everyone in the city, that everyone shares in the prosperity of the city and shares in the resources that this city deserves. That means getting an accurate counting of constituent groups that are hard to count, for whatever reason. I believe it’s my calling that especially underserved, undercounted communities are adequately represented in this Census. This is what has to happen for all Detroiters to benefit.”
Bishop Edgar L. Vann, Second Ebenezer Church.
“Making sure public funding can be allocated to Detroit is critical to me and to other millennials as we are setting the foundations of our lives, keeping in mind we want to stay in Detroit. There are so many aspects of the city that are funded by Census numbers.”
Leah Hill, a millennial entrepreneur who grew up on the city’s west side and now lives in Lafayette Park.