Preparing for the 2020 Census: Complete Count Committees

May 3, 2019

The 2020 Census is less than a year away! A great way to help ensure a successful count of all Virginians is to channel the energy, creative thinking, and social ties already existing within your community by creating a Complete Count Committee.

What is a Complete Count Committee?
Complete Count Committees are volunteer committees established by local, state, or tribal governments or by community organizations. The chair is usually appointed by the highest elected official in a jurisdiction, who may also appoint the other members. Committees typically include a “cross-section” of community leaders, such as representatives from the business, education, religious, and minority communities, and are charged with developing and implementing a plan to promote Census participation that is tailored to the community’s needs. Since children aged 0-4 are the most likely demographic to be undercounted, localities are encouraged to include representatives from child-serving organizations on their committees as well.

Complete Count Committees can raise public awareness of the importance of the Census in any number of creative ways, such as through working with other community organizations to encourage Census participation by “hard to count” populations, developing promotional materials, or holding special events.

What resources are available to support counties in establishing Complete Count Committees?
Several counties have already established Complete Count Committees and can serve as models for other interested localities. The Virginia Complete Count Commission, which was established by Executive Order in December 2018, is maintaining a list on its website of localities with Complete Count Committees. VACo recently hosted Gwen Kennedy, Loudoun County’s Legislative Liaison, on the County Pulse podcast to discuss how Loudoun County is preparing for the Census, including the establishment of its Complete Count Committee. The episode is available on VACo’s 2020 Census webpage and at this link.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 Census Complete Count Committee Guide is available online as a general reference document. Census Bureau staff can also be a resource to local Complete Count Committees. The regional census center for Virginia is in Philadelphia and is reachable at Philadelphia.rcc.partnership@2020census.gov.

Is your county establishing a Complete Count Committee? VACo would appreciate your letting us know via email at kboyle@vaco.org.

VACo Contacts: Katie Boyle and Joe Lerch, AICP

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