Census Campaign: Countdown to Being Counted

Case Study


Census 2020 Campaign Image

The Issue

In mid-March 2020, Texans opened their mailboxes to find the first invitations to participate in the 2020 Census. Days later, COVID-19 caused schools to close, businesses to close, people to shelter in place, and census field operations to be suspended.

As the deadline for a final count approached, the state’s census response rate hovered at a mere 60% in September. In many places, like the Rio Grande Valley, the rates were about ten points lower, if not more.

The decennial census drives billions of federal dollars to public education, most of which is allocated to the National School Lunch Program, Title I Grants, and Special Education grants. In other words, the funding goes to the students who need support the most—an accurate count matters, both in lives and dollars.

The Texas Demographics Center reports that one percent undercount in Texas could result in the loss of $300 million per year or $3 billion for the next decade. With almost seven percent of the population still uncounted, the state risks losing over $2 billion annually.

How We Delivered

Raise Your Hand Texas worked with education advocates and philanthropy across the U.S. and here in Texas to elevate the urgency of the Census count and its direct impact on public education, students, and taxpayers.

In addition to lending our voice to 505 other philanthropic organizations across the U.S. in urging the federal government to redouble its efforts to fund and ensure an accurate count, Raise Your Hand Texas turned to its network of advocates and allies in Texas with a robust digital and social media campaign aimed out educating the public about the impact of the decennial census on local schools, state revenue, and communities.

Outcome and Impact

Our digital toolkit equipped local school districts and communities with customizable resources and data to help identify areas with lower response rates and use the Census as a teachable moment in classrooms with relevant curriculum resources, echoing the importance of participation for all families in our state.

Highlights from Our Campaign 

Philanthropy’s Letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Census Bureau

Toolkit Resources for Education and Advocacy for Census Participation


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