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$500M Public Education and Outreach Campaign Includes More than 1,000 Ads

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On the eve of the nation’s once-in-a-decade headcount of every person in the country, the U.S. Census Bureau is unveiling an unprecedented $500 million public education and outreach campaign featuring more than 1,000 advertisements.

The 2020 Census Integrated Communications Campaign (ICC) debuts today in Washington, D.C. when members of Congress, federal agency leaders, Census Bureau partners, and the media get a preview of the messaging and strategies that support the ICC platform: “Shape Your Future. START HERE.”

“The 2020 Census is your census and its success depends on you.”

— Steven Dillingham, Director, U.S. Census Bureau

Census 2020 Logo with Tagline

“The 2020 Census is your census and its success depends on you," said Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham. "It’s a once-in-a-decade chance to inform how billions of dollars in funding are allocated for critical public services like hospitals and healthcare clinics, schools and education programs, roads and bridges, and emergency response for the next 10 years.”

Dillingham said that “through advertising, public events, partnerships, and digital and traditional media, we are embarking on a nationwide effort to let everyone in the country know about the upcoming 2020 Census and encourage them to respond online, by phone, or by mail.''

The Census Bureau is extremely committed to reaching those people who are historically undercounted.

"Today we will demonstrate how the “Shape your Future. Start Here.” campaign will do just that,” Dillingham said.

Team Y&R, an integrated advertising and communications agency group led by VMLY&R, was awarded the contract to support 2020 Census communications efforts across all media channels and through 2020 Census partnerships and programs.

In addition to some of the country’s leading advertising and communications agencies, Team Y&R includes six firms focused on multicultural audiences.

Campaign Driven by Research

The Census Bureau and VMLY&R conducted extensive research, including 42 focus groups in multiple languages and an analysis of 17,000 online survey responses to understand what stops people from responding to the census and how they can be motivated to participate. Multicultural agencies led creative development and media planning to reach diverse audiences.

The resulting campaign includes television and radio commercials, social media, print advertising, and messaging on billboards and bus stops.

The paid media campaign, which began in December 2019 with advertisements to reach remote villages in Alaska, will ultimately reach 99% of all U.S. households and encourage the public to respond to the 2020 Census.

The campaign has a heavy focus on encouraging participation among multicultural and hard-to-count populations, with advertising in 12 languages in addition to English.

Census Count Begins

The 2020 Census will officially begin Jan. 21 in the Alaska Native village of Toksook Bay, Alaska, on the Bering Sea.

The U.S. Constitution mandates that a census of the population be conducted every 10 years and the Census Bureau’s goal is to count everyone who lives in the United States Census statistics are used to determine the number of seats each state receives in the U.S. House of Representatives, and will inform the allocation of billions of dollars in federal funds by state, local, and federal lawmakers annually for the next 10 years.

“For the first time, we are inviting all people living in the United States to respond to the census online, which we know will appeal to a great deal of the public who regularly use the internet,” said Albert E. Fontenot Jr., associate director for Decennial Operations. “But the census questionnaire can also be completed by phone or by mail. We will offer guides and assistance in 59 languages, so everyone has a chance to respond.”

Learn more about the ICC.

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Page Last Revised - February 25, 2022
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