The Census is mandated under the US Constitution in Article 1, Section 2. Census data is used to:

1. Determine the number of seats in the House of Representatives, electoral votes, and redistricting

2. Calculate federal aid to state governments. State and local governments use Census data to redistribute federal aid to support essential services.

3. Plan business and community services, public health initiatives, philanthropic investments, etc.

While the US Census Bureau conducts its systematic count of the population every 10 years, the Census bureau collects and distributes annual data used by nearly every sector for planning purposes. The American Community Service (ACS) data is Census data and it helps community leaders, business, government officials to understand trends and changes in local communities. It is the premier source of comprehensive population and housing information.

WHAT's at Stake?


The federal government will distribute $675 billion to state governments based on the 2020 Census data. Based on the 2010 Census data, NY receives $53.2 billion dollars each year to pay for vital community resources and programs. The federal distribution is currently as follows:

Screen Shot 2018-03-25 at 3.55.16 PM.png

A Closer look at 2020:

  • The Census is going on-line for the first time and new fears about cyber security are real. For those who don’t want to complete an on-line form, participation over the phone will be an option. There are additional concerns about the lack of participation in communities with poor internet access.

  • The federal government has allocated less money to conduct the Census in 2020. The impact of this has already been felt: there will be a reduced number of regional offices overseeing the Complete Count work, the three field-tests were reduced to one, and the communications strategy has been delayed.

  • National rhetoric that vilifies immigrants may instill fear in some groups and deter them from completing Census questionnaires.

What can philanthropy do to support Census 2020?

  • Understand, support, and help coordinate local organizations who will support complete count mobilization efforts

  • Help and support create local and/or state Complete Count Committee(s)

  • Encourage local and state government to provide funding for complete count work

  • Engage businesses in discussions about the Census and ask for their support

  • Convene other funders in your region to understand and support Census activities

  • Organize grantees and support collaborative efforts to support Census

New York Coalitions/Advocates Supporting Efforts Around Census 2020


Foundations Supporting The New York STate Census Equity Fund @ The New York Community Trust

  • Adirondack Community Foundation

  • Brooklyn Community Foundation

  • Central New York Community Foundation

  • Charles H. Revson Foundation

  • Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

  • Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes

  • Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties

  • Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley

  • Dyson Foundation

  • Ford Foundation

  • Health Foundation for Western and Central New York

  • JP Morgan Chase

  • Korean American Foundation

  • Long Island Community Foundation

  • Mertz Gilmore Foundation

  • New York Foundation

  • Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation

  • Robert Sterling Clark Foundation

  • Rochester Area Community Foundation

  • Rockefeller Brothers Fund

  • Scherman Foundation

  • The Clark Foundation

  • The Park Foundation

  • The Rauch Foundation

  • The New York Community Trust

  • The New York Women’s Foundation

  • Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock

  • Westchester Community Foundation

  • Zegar Family Foundation

To learn more about the New York Census Equity Fund, click here. To contribute to the the Fund, click here.

Resources for Census 2020:


Data Sources