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Census 2020 for RI Libraries

RI Response Rates

Follow along in real time to see how your community has self-responded to the census. If your community has a low completion rate relative to the rest of the state or relative to its rate in 2010, consider amping up your outreach efforts!  

Virtual Census Activities

Libraries and other community centers are providing limited face-to-face services and census outreach has slowed. The good news is that your community members have until September 30, 2020 to complete their census, and there are plenty of ways to support a complete and accurate count even without a fully open library. You can: 

  • Promote the census to your community through your online channels.
    • Share the RI Complete Count Campaigns social media messages, images and materials;
    • Put a highly visible link to on your library's homepage;
    • Create short videos for social media that include your library staff or community members taking their census;
    • Include taking the census as an activity in any lists, info graphics, or recommendations for activities to do during self-isolation and social distancing; and 
    • Host a community information session via an online service like Zoom or Facebook Live.
  • Ensure that your community has accurate information
    • Direct inquiries to experts, rather than try to provide guidance to patrons if you have not been trained; 
    • has comprehensive resources to help you answer basic reference questions; 
    • Direct patrons to appropriate phone line at the census using the Census Phone Response, which includes an informational phone line as well as response lines in 17 languages.

Is your library ready for the 2020 census?

The 2020 census is here! All RI residents have until July 31 to complete their census form. Use this checklist to ensure your library is ready to support your community in getting a complete and accurate count.

Census 2020 & RI

The U.S. Constitution requires a complete count of every person living in the country once every ten years. Census results determine tne distribution of billions of dollars of federal funds to states and communities, and determine how many seats in congress each state gets. The count from the 2020 Census will last for the next decade, so an undercount would be detrimental to RI in a variety of ways.


RI receives $3.8 billion in federal funding each year, approximately one third of the State's annual budget. An undercount will affect the allocation of this money, and have an impact on funding for services affecting highways, public safety, schools, and hospitals, as well as programs like Medicaid, public housing and SNAP.

Congressional Representation

RI is at risk of losing a Congressional seat  if population growth is slower than in other states; a complete count will help ensure RI maintains its representation in congress.

Inaccurate Data

Census data is used to inform decision-making in a variety of areas, including economic development projections and investments, and the allocation of vital services and programs for vulnerable populations. Vulnerable populations are both more susceptible to and more negatively affected by an undercount.

RI Complete Count Committee

Governor Gina Raimondo established the RI Complete Count Committee (RICCC)  to develop a Census outreach strategy that will encourage participation in the Census to ensure that RI is not undercounted. The committee is co-chaired by Central Falls Mayor James Diossa and Rhode Island Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott,and includes 61 members representing local governments, hard-to-count populations, K-12 education and higher education, youth, the business community, senior citizens, libraries, the healthcare community and more. Learn more about the RICCC, read the RI Census outreach plan, and explore other RI Census resources:

Follow the RI Complete Count Committee on Social Media:

RI 2018 End-to-End Test

Rhode Island was the sole location for the US Census Bureau's end-to-end test in Providence county in 2018. Advantages to hosting the test include that the state has been working closely with US Census Bureau staff since 2018, and have been able to create a tailored outreach strategy based on the results. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Rhode Islanders did not know the 2018 test was a test, so a potential challenge could be that Providence County residents may be less inclined to fill out their 2020 Census if they believe they have already completed it.

Providence Rhode Island - Thank You[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]