Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 8-2019


CAUR is partnering with GTCF to provide data for a Census 2020 campaign in Pierce County. The purpose of this campaign is to provide materials and information about the importance of a complete and accurate census count. The research materials provided by CAUR will be used to provide information for a public education video and materials to be distributed to community leaders as they encourage constituents to actively participate in the upcoming 2020 Census.

Census data has a wide variety of applications, both public/government and in private industry. CAUR worked closely with GTCF to identify four different use cases for census data that help convey the importance of having a complete and accurate count. These use cases represent aspects of day-to-day life for Pierce County residents that might be changed if the census count is inaccurate. For example, we present details on how bus routes might be altered if are using inaccurate census data, due to significant undercounts, potentially missing entire neighborhoods where bus service would be needed. We also evaluate the difference in federal funding to Pierce County if 10% of residents do not complete their census forms.

The examples we use here provide insight into the issues that arise from both inaccurate and incomplete census data. In some of our use cases, we simulate an inaccurate census count in key areas. For example, we simulate the differences of siting a new health clinic if some houses incorrectly report the number of children in their homes. In other cases we examine the repercussions of failing to complete the census entirely. Federal grants are sometimes based on the number of residents in an area, and if the census count does not include all residents, then there is a proportional drop in grant funding. It is important to relay the message that the census is important, and that it should be completed honestly and accurately.