April 16, 2020

Warriors Count: Wayne State encourages students, Detroit community to fill out 2020 census

One 10-minute action can impact Detroiters for the next decade, especially in the areas of health care, food and emergency services.

But as of April 1 — National Census Day — the city’s census response rate was only 35%, with the lowest internet response rate in the nation. Detroit also ranks 20 out of 25 of the largest U.S. cities in overall response. In addition to Detroit at large, the number of people living on or near campus in Midtown has been misrepresented in prior years because of a lack of information for city apartments and multifamily homes.

Wayne State University wants to make sure every Detroiter and Warrior is counted during the 2020 Census, partnering with the city of Detroit to support the “Be Counted Detroit 2020” campaign. For those who haven’t done so, Wayne State strongly encourages everyone to visit my2020census.gov or call the toll-free number 844-330-2020 to complete the simple form.

“Our goal is to make sure everyone is counted,” said Carolyn Berry, associate vice president of WSU’s Office of Marketing and Communications. “We want to make certain that wherever Wayne State students live, they complete the census. It’s absolutely critical to the city and our students that they are counted.”

Berry, Rob Thompson with Computing and Information Technology, and other university representatives are part of an outreach committee that has worked closely with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s office to promote participation in the census. In addition, Wayne State’s Office of Housing and Residential Life has been instrumental in ensuring that all students who lived in a university-managed facility are counted for their on-campus address for the 2020 census.

Students who lived off campus should still complete the census for the address where they spent the most time during the academic year. If those students did not receive a postcard with a census code at the address where they lived most of the year, they can still complete the census by answering a few additional questions at my2020census.gov.

The 2020 census results will translate into hundreds of billions of dollars. Annually, more than $675 billion in federal funding is distributed to states and communities; Michigan alone receives close to $30 billion. In 2010, the census completion rate in Detroit was only 64% — one of the largest declines in participation nationally. This drop cost the city tens of millions of dollars in federal funds. Based on the census taken every 10 years, the funding supports numerous programs and services such as Medicaid, student loans, school lunches for children, foster care, housing and infrastructure improvements (including roads and bridges), to name a few.

Census data also impacts the number of congressional representatives composing Michigan’s delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives. The U.S. House of Representatives has 435 members, divided from among the states based on the Census count. If Michigan’s count is lower, that may affect the number of seated representatives in the state.

Key dates for the 2020 census include:

April-July 2020 — Reminder letters/postcards sent to those not responding
July 2020 — Response deadline
Dec. 31, 2020 — Census Bureau delivers count to the president
March 2021 — States receive official count

For more information and downloadable resources about the 2020 census, visit Be Counted Michigan 2020.