Starting in 1790, and every 10 years since, the United States has conducted a census. Through the data we collect during the decennial census year, we help the public make the decisions they need to improve their community: to build schools, hospitals and new roads; to guide public funding to help those in need; and to help entrepreneurs and businesses make critical decisions.
In a little over a year, the public will get the chance to respond to the 2020 Census. And before they do, it is our job to make sure they understand that their responses help shape the future of their community.
With a little more than one year to go before April 1, 2020, today we announced our tagline for the 2020 Census — “Shape your future. START HERE.” We chose this tagline after our extensive communication research showed that the impact the census has on future generations is a major motivator across different groups to fill out the 2020 Census.
The tagline chosen is a product of the research the agency conducted through the Census Barriers, Attitudes and Motivators Study (CBAMS). The study’s survey reached a nationally representative sample of 50,000 households in early 2018, with nearly 17,500 responses (about a 35.0 percent response rate) to determine who intends to respond to the census and what attitudes, barriers and motivators exist about the 2020 Census. This is considered a well above average sample size and response rate than the industry standard for communications campaign research. This foundational research demonstrated what types of messages will reach all populations, including segments of the population that are historically hard to count, and which types of messages may motivate individuals to respond to the 2020 Census.
The CBAMS research was paired with expertise of multicultural advertising agencies seasoned in reaching the diverse audience that makes up our nation. These agencies are part of the Census Bureau’s communications contractor VMLY&R. Once developed, the tagline was tested using a combination of online quantitative testing, in-person focus groups, and community representative review sessions with participants — demonstrating that this tagline works in multiple languages and cultures. We are currently building creative materials under the umbrella theme of this tagline and once developed, those creative materials will be tested extensively with diverse audiences around the country. The new tagline and logo will also be distributed to the Census Bureau's partners for use in their materials to align with the campaign.
In preparation for the 2020 Census, on April 1, 2019, Census Bureau Director Dr. Steven Dillingham will brief the public on the status of operations and what they can do to help ensure a complete and accurate count in their community.
Now, with less than 14 months to go until Census Day, all of us at the Census Bureau are working diligently in preparation towards the 2020 Census — the most advanced census in our nation’s history. And by taking a few minutes to participate, the public will get the chance to shape their future, starting right here, right now.