2020 Census in Texas

/2020 Census in Texas

Texas-specific information and resources regarding the 2020 Census.


Making the 2020 Census Count for Every Texan

The 2020 Census will shape Texas’ future for the next decade. Every 10 years, the United States Census Bureau carries out a constitutionally mandated count, or Census, of the nation’s residents. The Census is supposed to count every person living in the United States to determine representation in Congress and guide the distribution of public and private resources for our communities. For a state as large and diverse as Texas, it can be a challenge to make sure everyone is counted.

Texas has experienced rapid growth since the last Census in 2010, which reflects the strength of our great state. If our communities are fully counted in the 2020 Census, experts believe that Texas could gain up to three additional seats in Congress. It would also bring in funding for population-based federal programs that our communities need. An undercount of Texas’s population by even one-percent could result in a $300 million loss per year over the next decade in federal funding. The state would need to bear the financial burden for these services or eliminate some programs entirely. Finally, if businesses in Texas lack the accurate data they need to make the best investment decisions, it could stifle our economy.

Challenges Facing the 2020 Census

Texas communities have been historically undercounted. Approximately 25% of our state’s current population (over 6 million people) lives in “hard-to-count” areas, places with low response rates in the previous Census. Very young children, immigrants, people who don’t have a permanent address, people who live in rural areas, and people of color are considered hard-to-count. For young Texas children, 30% of children under 5 (582,000 young children) live in hard-to-count neighborhoods, which puts them at high risk of being missed in the 2020 Census. These hard-to-count communities will require more support and targeted outreach to achieve a complete count.

Texas is at even greater risk for an undercount this Census. Due to inadequate funding, the Census Bureau had to cancel key tests that would improve efficiency, accuracy, and response rates. These tests were especially important because the Bureau will invite nearly all residents to respond online for the first time in 2020. With concerns about cybersecurity and limited access to broadband across our rural communities, this could be a major challenge. Finally, the recent, now-defeated attempt to add a citizenship question has intensified a climate of fear, one expected to discourage immigrant households from participating in the Census. As home to the second largest population of immigrants in the country, and with major increases of our foreign-born population over the last decade, this will impact Texas’s Census count particularly hard.

Based on our state’s changing demographics and the Census Bureau’s operational plan for 2020, experts estimate that Texas could face an undercount of over 1.49% (around 437,000 Texans) this Census. That number does not account for the chilling effect of the failed attempt to add a citizenship question.

What Can We Do to Ensure an Accurate Count?

There’s power in numbers and power in knowledge. Learn more about hard-to-count communities in your region and the barriers they might face. You can also learn about specific messages and strategies effective for different hard-to-count communities from our partners listed below. 

Right now, local communities across Texas are stepping up to secure funding, promote the Census, and working to ensure a complete and accurate 2020 Census. Participate in your Complete Count Committee (CCC), or ask local leaders to establish one if there isn’t one in your area. These committees convene trusted voices across sectors, including leaders of schools, local businesses, public program offices, medical providers, libraries, places of worship, and elected offices to implement targeted outreach campaigns that will increase response rates for the 2020 Census. States can also organize state-wide CCCs to coordinate, support, and fund local efforts. So far, 37 states and Washington D.C. have established state-wide CCCs. Texas could join them if the Governor formed one through Executive order.

Upcoming CPPP Work for an Accurate, Complete 2020 Census Count

In lieu of a statewide CCC, CPPP has joined partners across the state to Get Out the Count through the Texas Counts Campaign. The campaign will have a public launch this fall – stay tuned.

CPPP has also partnered with Texans Care for Children through a New Venture Fund grant to reach young Texan children and their families about the Census.

You can keep up with the latest updates by following CPPP’s work and that of our partners at The Annie E. Casey FoundationNALEOCount All KidsCensus Counts 2020Texans Care for Children and Children’s Defense Fund Texas.  


Resources and Partners:

  1. The Census Project
  2. Hard-to-Count 2020 Map
  3. Fiscal Impacts of an Undercount
  4. Counting for Dollars 2020: Texas
  5. The Annie E. Casey 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book
  6. What Happened to the Citizenship Question?
  7. NALEO
  8. Count All Kids
  9. Census Counts 2020
  10. FCCP: Digital Toolkit for Funders
  11. Census Bureau Guide for Complete Count Committees
  12. NSCL: States’ Legislation on the 2020 Census
  13. Undercount of Young Children
  14. Issues Facing the 2020 Census

Related Posts from CPPP:

  1. 2020 Census: Why Texas Needs a Statewide Complete Count Committee
  2. LBB Hearing Testimony for Secretary of State Budget Hearing
  3. Texas KIDS COUNT: 2020 Census Factsheet
  4. Why a 2020 Census citizenship question is a loser for Texans
  5. Growing Fears for Texas Kids of a 2020 Census Undercount
  6. CPPP Formally Objects to Citizenship Status Question on 2020 Census

Follow CPPP Research Analyst/State Priorities Partnership Fellow Cassie Davis on Twitter for the latest policy updates on the #2020Census.