The Inequity of an Inaccurate Census: Why it Matters to Philanthropy

The Census Bureau faces a daunting set of challenges as it prepares for the 2020 census. Due to budget constraints, the Bureau is planning to collect the majority of census information online. Door-to-door outreach will be curtailed and canvassing scaled back.

While these changes will reduce the rising cost of collecting census data, it also increases the likelihood of undercounting young children, minorities, low-income individuals, and other marginalized groups. The 2010 census grossly undercounted our most vulnerable populations, and with the proposed changes for 2020, the risk for reoccurrence is greatly increased.

It is difficult to overstate the importance of a fair and accurate census count. When census information is not accurate, it threatens to muffle the voices of undercounted groups and communities and undermine the basic political equality that is central to our democracy. Institutions across the country, including local and state governments, businesses, nonprofits and foundations, routinely rely on data from the census to allocate funding, define where services are delivered and promote economic development.

Forefront is proud to be participating in Census 2020, a project spearheaded by The Forum of Regional Assocations of Grantmakers, with funding from the Joyce Foundation. Census 2020 will engage regional funders in ensuring a more thorough and accurate census count in 2020.We'll advocate and educate elected officials and community leaders on the importance and impact of the 2020 census. The project has three main objectives: 

     1. To educate regional philanthropy associations on the importance of the 2020 census and the role of their grantmaking members;

     2. To mobilize regional funders to advocate for policy improvement; and

     3. To increase 2020 census funding support among regional funders.

To learn more and get involved, contact Anita Banerji, Director, Democracy Initiative at 312-327-8912 or

Click any of the images below to learn more.

The Census and its Surrounding Issues: 














Will You Count? Fact Sheets on Hard-to-Count Populations: