Time is Running Out to Participate in the U.S. 2020 Census

With the help of local organizations and volunteers the City of Boston is making a final push to get an accurate census count ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline.

“This once-in-a-decade opportunity will determine the amount of elected representatives Boston will have, how legislative districts will be formed, and the amount of federal funding we will receive for crucial services and programs for the next 10 years,” said Mayor Martin Walsh last week. “Only 57.4 percent of Boston’s households have self-responded. We are now less than two weeks away from the last day to be counted (September 30). This is an urgent call to all of Boston’s communities to make sure they’ve completed the U.S. 2020 Census. On this day and throughout the month of September.”

Mayor Walsh reminded residents they can fill out the 2020 Census online or by phone, and either of these options is available in 13 languages.

“If you already have done so, make sure to ask your friends, family, and networks to do the same,” he said. “Spread the message digitally. Use the city’s outreach toolkit to amplify that responding is not only crucial, but it is also quick, easy, and confidential.”

Walsh is also encouraging residents to volunteer to census phone banks with the City of Boston. “We are hosting daily phone banks to reach out and encourage households in some of our lowest response neighborhoods,” said Walsh.

For all Boston-related Census information and how to help Walsh said to visit the city’s “Boston Counts 2020” website at www.boston.gov/departments/intergovernmental-relations/boston-counts-2020.

This year the United States will conduct its decennial census. In Boston there’s been a huge push to ensure a fair and complete count in the 2020 U.S. Census because it determines everything from representation in Congress, to federal funds for schools, affordable housing, infrastructure and health care programs.

MCEF used real-time census response rate data and knowledge of the impacts of the pandemic to make rapid-response grants between $500 to $5,000 for additional outreach activities. Organizations in these regions, who work with hard-to-count populations including communities of color,  are struggling to increase Census response rates while simultaneously responding to communities’ needs, which have been increasing in the wake of COVID-19.

Historically, certain populations are “hard-to-count” in the census. Urban and rural areas with large low-income populations, people of color, immigrants, non-English speakers, migrant workers, ex-offenders, young children, the elderly, those who are disabled, renters, the homeless, and those living in mobile homes or multi-unit residences are historically hard-to-count.

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