Census 2020
What is the Census, why is it important, and what is the impact of underreporting?

Today’s Activities


Every 10 years, people across the country and in California fill out the Census in order to have an accurate count of all people in the United States. The Census determines California’s federal funding for important community services that help support our families and fair share of representation in California and Washington D.C.

Watch this short Public Service Announcement:

Tom Hanks, Selena Gomez, Janelle Monáe and More Promote 2020 Census in New Video

And this short video from the US Census Bureau:  Shape Your Future, the 2020 Census

Look at the questions that are on the census, and determine what other questions could be asked by the government to help us. Write a list of 5 questions that you think the government could ask. Why would those questions be helpful? What problems could those questions help solve?


What is the US Census, and Why is it Important?

After watching this informative video from Lawrence Jackson at NBC News Explains, do a quick write about:

  1. Why there is a Census, and when did it first take place
  2. The impact Census results have on Congress
  3. How the Census is taken
  4. What was the controversial proposal for the 2020 Census, and why was it controversial?

Next, Read Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution regarding the Census:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers .… The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.

What was the purpose of the census, as written into the Constitution?

Then, Make Data Speak:

Use this worksheet to make an infographic about data points from locations that you select in your community, the state, and the nation. Use the link to data provided by the US Census Bureau.  Share the infographic with a person in your household.

Here are examples of infographics:

A Voice for California

The 2020 Census will determine the number of representatives California has in the U.S. House of Representatives and the number of votes we have in the Electoral College. Your information will also be used to redraw State Assembly and Senate boundaries. Participating in the 2020 Census ensures that you and your communities have fair representation.

Some helpful definitions:

  • Reapportionment: redistribution of representation in a legislative body
  • Electoral College: a body of people representing the states who formally cast votes for the election of the President and Vice President
  • Redistricting: the act of dividing or organizing an area into new political or school districts

Read the following information about how the 2020 Census will impact California.  Find Tuolumne County on the map.



What are some reasons that people may not want to complete the US Census?  What are barriers that some people have to completing the US Census?

Based on the map in the link above, are parts of Tuolumne County considered high on the index of “Hard to Count?”  

Explain why you think that some parts would be harder to count than others.

Why do you believe that some communities in California have been traditionally undercounted or underrepresented?

List and briefly explain five possible negative impacts to a community or state of having underreporting on the Census.


Select three reasons why a person or family may choose to not complete the Census.  Then, write a one-page explanation of the potential impact of that person not completing the Census, and your reasons of why they should, including suggestions to overcome any barriers they may face.


Create a campaign for the 2020 Census!  Consider what information would be helpful for families to understand how important it is to complete the Census.

Create a poster and submit using this theme:

Be Seen
Be Heard
Be Counted
Census 2020

The poster should encourage households to complete the Census 2020.  

Take a picture of your poster and upload it using this link.

In order to upload your poster, you will need to be logged in using your school’s student google account.

By Wednesday, April 22

Selected pictures will be posted to the ELO site on Monday, April 27.  Be sure to look for yours.

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