Community-based nonprofit organizations and local governments are key to ensuring that a complete count on Census 2020 is still a priority.

As the COVID-19 pandemic takes an ongoing toll on our residents and communities, getting a complete Census count is not only harder — it’s also more vital. Census data indicates how much federal funding our local governments will receive for food access programs, affordable housing, health systems, early childhood education and more. Census counts could also impact future funding for hurricane and pandemic relief programs and potentially how much of a future vaccine our community receives. With Greater Miami facing unprecedented unemployment levels and businesses losses, we will need those critical Census-driven funds more than ever as we look to recover from this crisis.

Miami-Dade County is a “hard-to-count” community. Historically, there are groups that are typically undercountedincluding children under the age of 5, renters, non-English speakers, and foreign-born residents. Here in Miami, 45% of households are renters and 53% of our county’s population is foreign born. These factors, combined with the COVID pandemic, have resulted in depressed local census response rates. 

To date, only 57% of individuals in Miami-Dade County have responded to the 2020 Census – that is a full 5% below the national average. We must do better.

The Miami Foundation and our Miami-Dade Counts 2020 partners continue to push outreach efforts to local city and nonprofit leaders and offer tools to support Census participationbut we ALL need to join the effortWe invite nonprofit organizations across the county to join this critically important community effort. Here are some ways you can help: 

  • Include Census 2020 messages and visuals in e-blasts, email signatures, newsletters, and even in talking points for presentations and programming.  Sample messaging can be found here. 
  • Remind your beneficiaries, donors, and other constituents that they can self-respond until October 31st online, over the phone or via paper form in dozens of different languages


  • Are you hosting a food drive or giveaway? Include a Census flyer. Conducting telehealth sessions? Ask if the client has completed the Census. Leading virtual education sessions? Talk about the Census. Providing COVID care packages? Include a Census-branded face mask.


  • Educate your audience. Encourage supporters to count themselves, count their kids, count their cousin living on the couch, and count their roommates.

The more people counted, the more money (and representation!) Miami-Dade County gets every year for the next 10 years. It matters, you matter, so let’s get counted.

This is the first of an ongoing series from The Miami Foundation. Check back in August for our next post where we make the case that a complete and accurate 2020 census is essential for advancing racial equity in the region.


Lindsey Linzer is the senior director of programs and grants administration at The Miami Foundation.

Pictured: Catalyst Miami volunteers wearing Census-branded face masks 


About Miami-Dade Counts 2020

Miami-Dade Counts 2020 is a collaborative effort, built by a growing base of local and national funders, to help ensure that everyone in Miami-Dade County is counted in the 2020 Census. We provided grants for nonprofits and grassroots organizations working to ensure a complete count – especially in the most hard-to-count and reach communities – as well as other resources to carry out their efforts.


Partners include the Allegany Franciscan Ministries, the Census Equity Fund, The Children’s Trust, the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, FIU Metropolitan Center, Health Foundation of South Florida, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Miami Foundation, Radical Partners, Stearns Weaver Miller, the United Way of Miami-Dade, the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, and Commissioner Eileen Higgins District 5.

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