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Stand Up and Be Counted!

2020 is not only a Presidential election year, but also time for the Decennial Census! This is not only a civic duty that’s easy to fulfill, but also necessary for ensuring that our city and neighborhoods are fully funded and represented.

If you don’t work with community data on a regular basis, you might not think much about the Census in your daily life. However, the services that you use on a daily basis—from the roads that you drive on, the bus you took to work, the preschool your child went to, the park where you walk your dog and even the districting lines in local elections—all rely on Census data, and those public resources are just the tip of the iceberg. Over $675 billion dollars is at stake, and making sure that your community gets its share is why completing the Census is so important.

Census-themed cookies, by Jasmine Cho, featured at a recent “Inclusive Innovation” event at CLP-Main (Oakland).


One of the biggest challenges we face every ten years is making sure that we count everyone, but even so, vulnerable populations are often under-counted. Immigrants, children under five, Black and Hispanic communities and those who move frequently (such as renters, students or people dealing with housing insecurity) are groups that are under-counted. And in 2020, the Census will be conducted primarily online for the first time ever, which means extra work will be necessary to reach those members of our community who aren’t as comfortable using technology. There are also pockets of Allegheny County that are especially at risk of an incomplete count, based on data from past Census years. Check out this interactive map if you’d like to find out where those areas are and if you live in one.

The good news is that Complete Count Committees all over the country are working to make sure everyone is counted—you can learn more about Complete Count Committees here. The library has been working closely with the Allegheny County Complete Count Committee for over a year now, and we hope to help all our communities stay informed, engaged and prepared to complete this Census. We will be publishing more posts here about activities at the Library, what you need to know to complete the census, how you or your organization can help and how to use census data in your research. Stay tuned!

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