2020 Census Resources for Adult Educators and Their Students


United States 2020 census form

2020 is here, which also means that it’s time once again for the Decennial Census of Population and Housing, better known as the census. We have put together this post full of resources adult educators can reference when putting together lessons and activities about the 2020 census. Use and share this post as a resource to encourage adult learners to take part in the census.

What is the census?

The U.S. Census Bureau conducts a survey to find out the total number of people living in the United States. Census Day, when the survey is administered, is April 1 every ten years on years that end in zero. The last census was conducted in 2010.

Why is the 2020 census important?

Let’s all think back to history or U.S. government class. The data collected determines how many seats each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives. The larger a state’s population, the more seats (and votes) that state gets in the House. Therefore, it’s important to find out how many people live in each state so that each state is represented fairly.

Businesses use census counts to determine where they should build more stores, factories, and other facilities, leading to the creation of jobs. In 2010, the population reported by the census was 308,745,538. This is expected to be more than 332 million in 2020, which can make all the difference for some states, counties, and cities versus others.

How can we prepare adult learners for the 2020 census?

The biggest change this time around is that residents will be able to respond to the census online for the first time ever. Because of this, it’s important to include digital literacy as a component when preparing students to answer the census, as well as different ways to respond.

Adult learners tend to fall into the hard-to-count category, which includes people who are low-income, possess low English skills, or are foreign-born. This is all the more reason to ensure adult learners know the importance of being a part of the official count.

2020 Census Resources

Helpful websites & guides

Official Census Bureau website
Your source for all things about the 2020 census, including news, FAQ’s, and other resources straight from the U.S. Census Bureau.

National Coalition for Literacy Census resources
A comprehensive list of resources for teaching and learning, toolkits for programs, and more.

Important Ways to Get Your Programs Ready – National Coalition for Literacy
Presented at the ACE of Florida Summer Symposium in June, this slideshow contains demographics and information tailored to the state of Florida.

US Citizenship Podcast’s 2020 Census Resources
Another collection of helpful census resources for adult learners, as well as family resources like coloring books in English & Spanish.

ALA Libraries’ Guide to the Census
A comprehensive resource that aims to help teachers and tutors inform students about the census.

Census Outreach Webinars
Several videos of helpful webinars, including Tools for Libraries to Support a Complete Count.

New England Literacy Resource Center
This site is designed for adult education programs, teachers, and students who want to learn about and participate in the Census 2020.

ESOL Resources

Why We Ask Questions About Language – Census.gov
Explains the reason for the language questions, and provides an example of what the questions will look like, as well as how the bureau uses and represents the data it collects.

Language Resources – Census.gov
Contains video language guides, print language guides, and language glossaries in 59 non-English languages.

Statistics in Schools – Census.gov
This section of the Census Bureau’s website contains activities created specifically for English language learners (ELLs) and adult English as a second language (ESL) learners featuring data on the country’s diversity. Activities also highlight how a complete count in the 2020 Census can benefit all communities.

Classroom Activity: How the Census Helps My Community – Census.gov
Includes links to printable worksheets that focus on language and knowledge-building through the lens of the 2020 Census and highlights how adults can play their part.

Local Resources

Find local Census Complete Count Committees
Complete Count Committees (CCC) are volunteer groups with the sole purpose of encouraging citizens to participate in completing the census. This interactive map contains contact information for more than 200 local and six state CCC’s in Florida, as well as an interactive map of committees around the U.S.

Hard to Count map
This interactive, color-coded map highlights hard-to-count communities to help organizations prioritize outreach in those areas.

Florida Census Profile – NCSL
Provides valuable information including what census data means in terms of political and economic power, key demographic data, and what the state is doing to encourage a full and complete count.

Orange County Complete Count Committee
Orange County specific info on the census, including signing up for a reminder to take the census, the types of programs affected by the census count, and how to become a member of the Complete Count Committee

Volusia County Census Awareness Campaign
Contains information specific to Volusia County and resources, including a sample questionnaire and informational flyers in English and Spanish.

How is your program preparing adult ed students for the 2020 census? Do you have a helpful resource to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!

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