It's Census Time - Make Black Count!

Feb 05, 2020

It’s Census Time—Make Black Count!

The U.S. Census is more than just a head count – it determines how our legislative districts are drawn, voting power in our communities, and how $675 billion in federal dollars will be allocated and invested in every state over the next 10 years. The National Urban League understood the significance of this and the need for an accurate count in Black America, and launched the first Make Black Count campaign in 1970 alongside a coalition of civil rights organizations.

50 years after launching the campaign, Black America remains undercounted in the Census. This has resulted in a loss of billions of dollars in federal funds to build schools, hospitals, and invest in infrastructure in Black communities. Furthermore, Black children are consistently undercounted in the Census.

Getting Counted Matters

According to the Census Bureau, the goal of the Census is to count every person who lives in the United States, “once, only once, and in the right place” including people of all ages, races, geographic locations and birth origin.

Getting counted in "the right place" is important because it determines where billions of dollars in federal funds for housing, education, transportation, and healthcare are allocated, and because the Black community is consistently undercounted – funds are lost each year. The other piece to being counted, and counted in the right place, is political power.

When communities of color are undercounted in the Census, the voting power in their legislative district weakens. Communities with larger populations have more power, and depending on the racial and economic makeup of that community – issues impacting Black and Brown Americans may be overlooked by elected officials, including state representatives, members of Congress, and federal judges. 

Stand Up and Make Black Count

Being counted in the 2020 Census means change for us, by us – and there are new and easy ways to do it. Starting this year, for the first time ever, the public can respond to the Census online – from desktops, tablets, and mobile phones. In addition to responding online, you can fill out the Census survey on paper, over the phone with the help of a Census representative, or with in-person assistance.

Speaking of assistance, the bureau is hiring over 500,000 people to help with the count. Whether you're an advocate, a civil rights leader, or working to get an accurate count – join us and Stand up and Make Black Count today!

Learn More about the 2020 Census and how you can get involved and spread the word by visiting

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