On Thursday, 112 million U.S. households will receive a letter asking them to respond to the 2020 census online. This is the soft launch of the largest government-led effort of the decade, dedicated to assessing the population of our nation's cities, counties and states.
According to a recent study from Pew Research Center, 78% of adults say they understand the importance of the census, yet misinformation — particularly around what will be asked and how to respond — is playing a large role in the process.
This, combined with fears of the new coronavirus spreading globally, has sparked concern around the potential accuracy of the count. The onus is on local governments and trusted partners to spread census awareness, dispel misinformation and empower residents to participate in this decennial act of governance.
Smart Cities Dive conducted dozens of interviews over the past month to assess how local governments are preparing for the count, and collect best practices for ensuring accuracy. This six-piece series touches on the many challenges of the 2020 census — messaging, costs, cybersecurity, etc. — and how governments can effectively address them.