Southeast Michigan Counts

Census 2020

Southeast Michigan Counts supports local efforts for a complete and accurate count and promotes census and civic participation throughout the region.

The United States Constitution requires that the residential population of the country be counted every 10 years. A complete and accurate count is vital for communities. Census data is used to distribute funding for road repairs, school improvements, and social programs. The number and distribution of elected officials are based on census data. Nonprofit organizations, businesses, and governments use census data to identify community needs and evaluate solutions to difficult problems.

Historically, some populations – including communities of color, low-income households, immigrants, and young children – have been undercounted in the census. Undercounts happen for many reasons. People may not understand the census, may not trust the government, or may not want to share their information. Whatever the reason people don’t participate, undercounts deprive communities of necessary resources and representation.

The next census occurs in April 2020. For the first time, census data will be collected primarily online. The new format may make it even harder for people without reliable internet access to participate.

A fair and accurate count in Census 2020 is vital for southeast Michigan. Researchers estimate that for every person not counted, communities will lose about $1,800 per year in federal funds. As trusted members of the communities they serve, Michigan nonprofit organizations are well positioned to engage on this issue and encourage census participation.

Southeast Michigan Counts is a mobilization campaign for the region. Visit this page to find resources and learn about the campaign as it develops.


Southeast Michigan Counts is offering funding and technical assistance for Census 2020 outreach activities to organizations that serve historically undercounted communities in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties. Grants are available to support projects that will:

  • Engage and educate undercounted communities about the importance of the 2020 census
  • Familiarize communities with the census process and changes to the 2020 census
  • Develop and implement effective strategies to boost census participation and support communities beyond the life of the project

Within these priorities, applicants should design a project that best serves their community. Projects could include knocking on doors and visiting block clubs, partnering with local businesses to connect with employees and customers, providing opportunities to access online census forms, sharing stories through local media and online networks, and other innovative and effective ways of connecting with people on this issue.


Questions? Feel free to contact

Melissa Smiley

Special Assistant to the President and Strategy Officer

313.961.6675, ext. 103