Census Communications in a Digital Divide

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The decennial Census is a massive and complex operation but Census 2020 poses profound new challenges. From the moment that President Trump tried to impose a citizenship question on the form, the Census became highly weaponized. As a result, targeted communities are afraid to participate in the census, requiring a communications and organizing strategy that is nuanced and sophisticated. To add to this challenge, Census 2020 is our nation’s first primarily digital census, seen as modernization by some and a barrier to participation by others. Over 20 million people lack reliable digital access, making online responses to the census unavailable to many in Indian Country, rural America and underserved urban districts. In this episode, Lizette Escobedo breaks down communications strategies designed to address and overcome these challenges, particularly in immigrant communities. And Francella Ochillo identifies new resources and partnerships, with libraries and local public officials, that are making participation possible in disconnected communities.

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