Southeast Michigan Counts


Frequently Asked Questions

We will update this page with new questions as we receive them.

To submit a question that you do not see, please email labma@cfsem.org

  • What do you mean by “undercounted populations?”

Undercounted populations are groups of people who haven’t been accurately counted in the past. The official U.S. Census definition is found here.

Undercounts happen for many reasons. People may not understand the census, may not trust the government, or may not want to share their information. For the purposes of the Southeast Michigan Counts grant program, undercounted populations include communities such as people of color, documented and undocumented immigrants, young children and people experiencing homelessness. Because the 2020 Census will be primarily conducted online, seniors and communities with limited internet access are also at risk of being undercounted.

 

  • How much help can my organization provide to people when they fill out the census?

Organizations can assist people in understanding what the census is and what it is used for, accessing the online form, navigating the census website, understanding what to expect on the form. Your organization may devise other strategies to promote census participation in undercounted populations.

The U.S. Census Bureau highly discourages individuals from filling out another household’s census form. If the members of a household have challenges completing the form online or on paper, they will be able to fill out the census over the phone. When that phone number is made available, we will update this page to include it.

 

  • My organization isn’t a nonprofit. Can we still apply?

The grant program is primarily for nonprofits, but some other organizations (including governmental entities) will be considered. You may need to partner with a fiscal sponsor. A fiscal sponsor is a non-profit organization offering its legal and tax-exempt status to projects engaged in activities related to the sponsoring organization’s mission. It typically involves a fee-based contractual arrangement. Call the Community Foundation with any questions at 313.961.6675.

 

  • My nonprofit organization does not have a financial audit, financial review or IRS Form 990. Are we eligible for the grant program?

If your organization is successful at serving populations at risk of being undercounted, you may seek to get an audit or review, or you may consider partnering with a fiscal sponsor. A fiscal sponsor is a non-profit organization offering its legal and tax-exempt status to projects engaged in activities related to the sponsoring organization’s mission. It typically involves a fee-based contractual arrangement. Call the Community Foundation with any questions at 313.961.6675.

 

  • Is the 2020 census only available online?

No. Paper copies of the census form will be available. The census can also be completed by phone. However, to save cost and improve accuracy, the U.S. Census Bureau will strongly encourage households to fill the census out online.

 

  • In which languages will the 2020 Census be available?

The online-questionnaire will be available in 12 non-English languages Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian, Creole, Portuguese and Japanese. Mandarin and Cantonese will also be available via phone.

 

  • How will people receive the 2020 census?

Every household will have the option of responding online, by mail or by phone. Nearly every household will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census in the mail, starting in March 2020. Follow up communication from the Census bureau will eventually include a paper survey.

 

  • If you skip questions, will your census still count?

The Census Bureau encourages everyone to fill out the entire Census.

 

  • Does everyone in my family need to fill out the Census?

The Census is a household survey, based on address. One person should fill out the Census on behalf of everyone who lives at that address, including all adults and all children. Children under 5 are the largest undercounted population, so including them is critical to a fair and accurate count.

 

  • Is the Census Bureau hiring? How can I apply?

The federal government hires many people to help with the Census. Applications are taken online at Census.gov.

 

  • Are there resources for organizations outside of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties?

The Southeast Michigan Counts grant program is only available for organizations serving undercounted populations in the tri-county area. Anyone can access information, webinars and other resources related to the 2020 census by visiting the Census 2020 Michigan Nonprofits Count Campaign or the U.S. Census Bureau.