The 2020 Census Counts, So Do You

July 9, 2020 Mary Heinemann

It affects us all! Here at The International Institute of Metro Detroit, IIMD, we are committed to the well-being of our community and our clients.

Whether you are a citizen or not, you must be counted for the 2020 Census.

The Census takes place every 10 years when the US government counts every person who lives in the country, regardless of citizenship status, age, nationality, or ability. The Census will use the information collected to allocate more than $675 billion in federal funds for states and communities per year for the next ten years, until the 2030 Census. Areas to which funds are distributed:

  • Medicaid/ Medicare
  • State Children’s Health Insurance Programs
  • Head Start and Early Head Start
  • Special education grants 
  • Vocational rehabilitation services

Without accurate information collected through the Census, elected officials cannot make informed decisions about how to allocate needed federal tax dollars effectively to communities. The information collected by the Census increases the ability and funds to advocate on disparities in housing, health care, employment, and education.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic it is even more crucial to get an accurate reflection of how many folks reside in the US and where. Usually, Census workers would do door-to-door visits ensuring every home has been visited multiple times to gather correct data. Unfortunately, this is no longer possible to do in a safe and secure fashion. This makes it even more important to fill out the Census: either online at MY2020CENCUS.GOV, through the paper form, or by calling the toll-free number 844- 330- 2020.

Through the United We Count Detroit 2020 Census project, IIMD and its partners, the Islamic Center of Detroit (ICD) and the Mayoral Office of Immigrant Affairs and Economic Inclusion, are leading an effort to increase the 2020 census count by at least 6% by engaging, educating, and assisting under-counted communities on the city’s east and west side in the Banglatown and Warrendale neighborhoods. We created a robust strategy which included the following:

1. Facilitating six information sessions; 

2. Establishing community-based census service centers; 

3. Creating a multilingual marketing campaign; 

4. Designing and implementing a canvassing campaign.  

As a result of COVID-19, this strategy had to be revised; yet we nevertheless conducted the six information sessions and designated census service centers in the above mentioned communities. We also partnered with the city’s immigration taskforce and Dr Hayg Oshagan, founder and director of New Michigan Media, to create the online marketing campaign, the partnership developed multicultural outreach materials in a variety of community languages. We have shared these on social media and with community partners to ensure our messaging reaches and engages the intended audiences. 

We appreciate and thank our project manager Muthanna Al-Hanooti and partners, ICD and the Mayoral Office of Immigrant Affairs and Economic Inclusion.