The Census has begun - Countdown to April 1, 2020

Posted By: Mary Dell Hayes Together SC ,

By Mary Dell Hayes

United Way Association of SC

UPDATE:  Census Extends Deadline to Mid-August

UPDATE:  Census Suspends Field Operations Amid Coronavirus Fears, New York Times March 19, 2020

UPDATE:  We want to reiterate the Census Bureau’s messaging in response to COVID-19:  It has never been easier to respond on your own, whether online, over the phone or by mail—all without having to meet a census taker.

The next few weeks are critical for nonprofits to prepare to help their consumers and constituents get counted in the 2020 census.

If 100 people are missed in a community, that represents more than $3M in federal resources that should come to SC that will go to other states instead. We can’t afford to miss a single person!

Who should be counted? Anyone who lives in SC on April 1, 2020.

Where should they be counted? At their primary residence, even if they don’t technically or legally live there. 

How can they count? Most people will receive a postcard to participate online in late March, but some people will receive a paper copy of the census to participate.

The SC Grantmaker’s Network, TogetherSC, the SC Commission for Minority Affairs, and the United Way Association of South Carolina are working together to ensure resources are shared across the state.

Anyone working on increasing census participation can apply for a minigrant. 

Laurens, Spartanburg, Orangeburg, Charleston, and Florence have unique opportunities to ensure their communities count.

Contact Mary Dell Hayes at to learn more about training and strategy sessions being held in your community.

We are collaborating with the Emily Revolutionary Marketing Group in Newberry to develop SC specific messaging and collateral materials for public use. Check us out on social media (@SCCounts2020) or at


Mid-March: postcard invitations to participate go to individual households

Mid-March through April: up to 4 follow up reminders by mail sent to individual households

May and June: enumerators go door to door for households that have not self-responded


I wanted to flag a tool to track 2020 Census response rates across the country.  As self-responses come in, the map will be updated and you can track responses in your communities.  (Currently it shows 2010 self-response rates.)  The map can be found here:

I also wanted to flag Census Bureau new tool—the Response Outreach Area Mapper (ROAM)—to help identify hard-to-count areas.  The ROAM application can be found here:

Here’s an alternate Hard-To-Count map (through CUNY): 

We're in this together, Allies!

Mary Dell Hayes