December 2019 updates for the Census 2020 Hard to Count map

Happy holidays! Here are the latest updates to the HTC 2020 map to help you plan your Get Out the Count campaigns:

Advanced Tract Search

The HTC 2020 map has always included current population data in addition to the 2010 Mail Return Rates. For any tract, county, or state the map provides information on populations at risk of being undercounted based on the latest American Community Survey estimates, the share of householders with no home internet, and more. Using the map you can not only view hard-to-count areas based on how many households mailed back their census forms in 2010, but you can prioritize areas that need census outreach based on current population patterns.

But we’ve added a new feature to make it even easier to focus your GOTC campaigns.  Now you can select tracts within a county based on any of the demographic data we use for the map. The screenshot below shows how you can access this new Advanced Tract Search.

Here are three examples for using the new Advanced search feature:

  • This link shows the tracts in Harris County where 25% or more of the population is foreign-born and where 25% or more of the households have no home internet. The screenshot below visualizes the result. Also note the Excel download option highlighted below.

  • This link selects tracts in Harris County where renters make up 50% or more of the households and 50% or more people have incomes below or near the poverty level (below 200% of the poverty threshold).

With each of these links, as the screenshots show, a search panel opens in the upper right corner of the map so you can do your own searches.  And you can “hide” this panel if it gets in the way of the map.

When you do a search, you can move your mouse over the list of selected tracts so you can see where each one is located.  And you can download all the data from the map for the selected tracts in an Excel file.

We hope you can put this new feature to good use now that 2020 is almost upon us and GOTC activities are moving into high gear. As always, please let us know if you have any questions about the new Advanced Search, if you have any feedback on how we can improve, and if you’d like us to include any other data in the search options.

New State Maps of Census Bureau Contact Strategies

We’ve created statewide maps that visualize the tract-level contact strategies the Census Bureau will use in 2020 to invite participation in the census. Alabama is shown below as an example.  You can find these maps when you view state-level information at the HTC 2020 map (see the left-hand panel at this link that zooms to Alabama) or at our Center for Urban Research page that analyzes the state-by-state contact strategies (scroll down to the table that lists all the states).

Soon we’ll have countywide maps as well.  Stay tuned!

Getting Ready for 2020

Be on the lookout next year for new features and data that we’ll be adding to the HTC 2020 map. These include:

  • The census count begins January 2020 in Alaska! Look for the HTC 2020 map to highlight Toksook Bay, AK starting next month.
  • Real-time 2020 self-response data. Starting March 20, 2020 the Census Bureau will be publishing daily self-response rates (the share of households that have filled out the census questionnaire online, by phone, or via mail) for several levels of geography (from tracts to nationwide). We will map that information so census stakeholders can evaluate and redeploy their GOTC efforts in real-time (and so they’ll know where census enumerators will be going door-to-door when the “non-response follow-up” operation begins). The Funders Census Initiative (FCI) sponsored a webinar in September 2019 with more information about the 2020 self-response rates.
  • Analysis of the real-time self-response rates. Working closely with census experts, we will examine the trends in self-response rates throughout spring 2020 and provide that information to census stakeholders, funders, the media, and other interested parties. While the mapped rates will focus on local geographic patterns, our ongoing analyses will provide a broader understanding of the 2020 self-response operation.
  • Population updates from the 2014-2018 American Community Survey estimatesToday the Census Bureau published detailed estimates from the latest ACS covering the 5-year period 2014-2018. Shortly we will update the information at the HTC map using this data for populations at risk of being undercounted and areas with poor internet access, and we will make this data available via our downloadable Excel files from the map.

The HTC 2020 map in action

Census stakeholders continue to put the HTC 2020 map to good use. Below are some recent examples, along with media reports highlighting the map:

  • The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) published a set of 50 state census profiles, highlighting what census data means for each state in terms of political and economic power, key demographic data for the state, and what the state is doing to encourage a full and complete count. Each state profile includes a map of hard-to-count tracts based on the HTC 2020 map.
  • The Census Bureau has asked web, app, and data visualization developers to get involved and help their communities by helping the census. The Bureau’s latest email calls on developers to “create or contribute to data dissemination applications that show how Census data [is valuable] … or tells a compelling story. There hasn’t been a better time to do this in the last decade!” The Bureau’s email bulletin includes a screenshot of our HTC 2020 map and highlights it as an example of their call to action.
  • The Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality features the HTC map at its website along with the many Census 2020 resources the Center has produced. For example, the Center recently published a series of fact sheets about how the Census Bureau will enumerate people in “group quarters” in 2020. If you view a tract at the HTC map populated primarily with people in group quarters (such as this one in Lincoln, NE), we note that this population will be counted separately, and we include a link to the Georgetown fact sheet for more information.
  • Cornell University’s Program on Applied Demographics published its November 2019 “New York Minute” newsletter, highlighting the HTC map with a focus on how you can use the map to identify local areas with poor internet access.
  • DemLabs published an interactive fact sheet this week titled “You Count” highlighting the importance of being counted in the 2020 census. It includes the HTC 2020 map as an important resource to identify areas at greatest risk of being undercounted.
  • The Institute for Policy & Social Research at Kansas University published an online resource for the Kansas Counts coalition, highlighting several resources including the HTC map to help census stakeholders “prioritize hard-to-count communities for your Get Out the Count campaign.”
  • The Blandin Foundation, which focuses on rural Minnesota, has published an online census resource inventory, including the HTC map as a “resource for rural leaders.”
  • NJ Spotlight in New Jersey recently published a comprehensive article on the challenges faced across the Garden State for the 2020 census.  It features a screenshot of the HTC map showing tract-level contact strategies in the Newark area, and cites our research on NJ’s hard-to-count populations.

Links to earlier updates

The HTC 2020 map is a work in progress. Other recent updates and enhancements are described here:

  • November 2019: Comprehensive information for all 2020 Census contact techniques combined in one place at the HTC 2020 map, so census stakeholders can more easily inform local residents about what to expect when the 2020 decennial census takes place. Also see the CUNY Center for Urban Research website for a state-by-state analysis.
  • October 2019: Updates to TEA designations; the latest examples of groups using the HTC map across the country; enhancing the HTC metrics with the Census Bureau’s “low response score”, the Urban Institute’s projections of undercount by state; & more.
  • August 2019: In-Field Address Canvassing areas & stats on the map; organizations that are using the HTC map for local grant assistance; new examples of linking to and/or embedding the HTC map.
  • July 2019: new feature to highlight tracts based on share of households without internet access; a list of other census maps nationwide, and more.
  • June 2019: Census contacts by state/county; census tract search feature.
  • April 2019: customized printing, data downloads, and more.
  • March 2019: mapping Type of Enumeration Areas (TEA) and Area Census Offices (ACOs)
  • January 2019: new ACS data for the 2013-17 period (including internet access), new legislative info, public library locations, and tribal lands added to the map.

If you haven’t signed up for our HTC 2020 map updates, please do so here.