2020 Census in Texas

/2020 Census in Texas

Texas-specific information and resources regarding the 2020 Census.
For more resources, please see below to CPPP’s Related Work.

Making the 2020 Census Count for Every Texan

The 2020 Census is coming up soon and will shape Texas’ future for the next decade. For a state as large and diverse as Texas, the Census can be a challenge to make sure everyone is counted. Counting every person is not only a constitutional mandate, it is essential to ensuring that Texas can thrive for years to come.

Every ten years, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a constitutionally mandated count of every person living in the country. Texas has experienced rapid growth since the last Census count in 2010. Our growth is both a reflection of and foundation for the strength of our great state. The accuracy of our count will affect Texas’ federal representation, our quality of life, and our businesses. The 2020 Census will decide our representation in Congress, and experts believe that Texas could gain up to 3 additional seats. Lastly, the 2020 Census will be the foundation for an accurate redistricting for our federal, state and local lawmakers.

Population-based federal funding for services, such as health care, housing and food are at risk. An undercount of Texas’ population by even one-percent could result in a $300 million loss in federal funding, burdening an already tight state budget. In addition, Census data is used in many other settings to inform research, policy recommendation, and business investments. An undercount in Texas can negatively impact where or whether businesses choose to invest in Texas, impeding the economic security of Texas families.

Challenges Going into the 2020 Census Counting every person in the United States is difficult. Very young children, immigrants, people who don’t have a permanent address, people who live in rural areas, and people of color are often harder to count. In Texas, approximately 25 percent of Texas’ current population (over 6 million people) live in hard-to-count neighborhoods. For young Texas children, 30 percent of children under 5 (582,000 young children) are at risk of being missed in the 2020 Census.  As a result, Hard-to-count communities will require more direct support and targeted outreach to make sure they are counted.

Click on this image to view an interactive map of hard-to-count communities in Texas.
Citation: Romalewski, Steven & O’Hare, William. Center for Urban Research, CUNY Graduate Center, analysis of U.S. Census Bureau, 2012–16 American Community Survey.

Other key challenges to the upcoming 2020 Census include major changes to the methodology of the Census and minimal testing of these new methods. For the first time, the internet will be the primary way for households to respond to the 2020 Census. Census experts are concerned about data confidentiality and security given that the internet-based survey has not been adequately tested in all types of communities. Census outreach will be essential when attempting to reassure people who are wary of information sharing or for those without internet access.

In addition to the traditional and new challenges that have are facing the 2020 Census, the federal administration is pushing the inclusion of an untested Citizenship question. The inclusion of this question could hurt the accuracy of the data and could end up costing the Census Bureau $55 million more to administer due to the expensive efforts required to recover missing data. The addition of the citizenship question has been described as a scare tactic for immigrant undocumented families, including families that include citizens and non-citizens alike (this includes residents with authorization to work and live in the United States). As a result, the inclusion of a citizenship-question could lead to an even larger undercount, leading to disastrous effects for Texans over the next decade.

What can we do to ensure an accurate count?

There is power in numbers, but there is also power in knowledge. Learn more about hard-to-count communities and encourage your local and state governments to commit to fully funding outreach and education in those communities starting now.  You can keep up with the latest updates by following CPPP’s work and that of our partners at The Annie E. Casey Foundation, NALEO, Count All Kids, Census Counts 2020, Texans Care for Children and Children’s Defense Fund Texas

You can also ask our leaders to fund State and Local outreach campaigns and Complete Count Committees. The Census Bureau provides a complete guide on how to establish Complete Count Committees at both levels of government and within a community.  

You can help expand the Census Bureau’s own outreach efforts by asking trusted messengers to become engaged, specifically direct service providers who interact with hard-to-count communities. This includes medical providers, public program offices, libraries, faith leaders, small business owners and local elected officials. Holding Census workshops for community members, organizations and businesses can help expand outreach efforts to reach those who may be wary of the Census.  

For philanthropy organizations that would like to increase involvement in issues related to the 2020 Census, the Funders Census Initiative (FCI) has provided a digital toolkit with helpful information, resources, and guidance for grant makers who want to help ensure a fair and accurate census.

CPPP’s Related Work:

  1. Why the 2020 Census Matters
  2. 2020 Census: Why Texas Needs a Statewide Complete Count Committee
  3. LBB Hearing Testimony for Secretary of State Budget Hearing
  4. Texas KIDS COUNT: 2020 Census Factsheet
  5. Why a 2020 Census citizenship question is a loser for Texans
  6. Growing Fears for Texas Kids of a 2020 Census Undercount
  7. CPPP Formally Objects to Citizenship Status Question on 2020 Census
  8. 2020 Census: What Localities Can Do
  9. Webinar: 2020 Census & Counting Young Texas Children (and slides)

Other Related Content:

  1. The Census Project
  2. Hard-to-count 2020 Map
  3. Fiscal Impacts of an Undercount
  4. Counting the Dollars 2020: Texas
  5. The Annie E. Casey 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book
  6. NALEO
  7. Count All Kids
  8. Census Counts 2020
  9. Census Legislation in Other States
  10. Citizenship Question Power
  11. Undercount of Young Children
  12. Issues Facing the 2020 Census
  13. Myths of 2020 Census
  14. 2020 Census Funder Toolkit
  15. Send a Letter to State Leaders

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