The JR Guide to the 2020 Census

As the 2020 U.S. census gets under way, news outlets nationwide will be working to help the public understand the importance and impact of the once-every-10-years population count. To help journalists bolster their reporting, we are publishing a series of census-themed tip sheets, explainers, research roundups and interactive graphics. We want to encourage deep coverage of this event.

Image of the Apotheosis of Washington mural inside the U.S. Capitol dome.
Whether a state’s population is fully represented in the House is based on census collection practices dating back centuries. The number of House seats a state gets will affect its sway in coming presidential elections.
Title I
Each year, the federal government distributes billions of dollars in Title I grants to school districts based on the number of low-income children each district serves. Localize your state's stakes with our interactive maps.
differential privacy
To help you understand the privacy protection plan for the 2020 census, we offer this graphic introduction to differential privacy by comics journalist Josh Neufeld.
abacus census count
To help journalists understand how the 2020 census will affect each state’s share of federal dollars, we’ve visualized fiscal year 2017 data for 40 of the largest census-guided programs.
hundred dollar bills
To help you appreciate and explain how the 2020 census will affect federal programs on the national level, we created an interactive visualization tool.
census 2020
To help you understand what to watch out for as the 2020 census gets underway, comics journalist Josh Neufeld created this graphic guide to the decennial count.
Why the census matters and what it will mean for public health in the United States.
Two experts — a university researcher and a former Census Bureau director — point out weaknesses in news coverage of the U.S. census and how journalists can do a better job covering the once-every-10-years population count.
Photo of census worker speaking with a resident.
As the U.S. prepares for its 2020 census, we summarize research that looks at who’s most likely to be missed by the decennial population count and how an incorrect tally can hurt communities.
citizenship census
Evidence from a randomized control trial indicates that when you introduce a question about citizenship on a United States Census form, respondents answer a smaller percentage of the questions.