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Census 2020 for New York Libraries: For Academic Librarians

FAQ for Academic Librarians

How will the 2020 Census impact college students?

In the United States Census, EVERYONE COUNTS. College students included. College students are counted as where they are living on April 1, 2020, not where they came from.

If a student is living away from home, where are they counted?

If a student is residing in a dorm on April 1, 2020, they will be counted by the school. Students who live in off-campus housing should respond to the census along with all roommates. If a student is residing with their parents at that time, they will be counted as part of their parents' household.

Who will count students in dorms?

If a student is living on campus, the dorms will be counted by the housing facility. They will be counted as “group quarters." Administrators will work with local 2020 Census office staff to collect the information for the students in the dorm, Those students will not respond directly to the Census Bureau.

Who will count students living off-campus?

Students who live off-campus will respond to the census individually. Students with roommates can select a "team leader" to act as the head of the household and to fill out the forms, or all roommates can fill out the forms individually.

Are foreign and exchange students counted?

Yes. The census is a "snapshot in time" on April 1, 2020.  If they are residing at the school, either on campus or off, all foreign and exchange students get counted as part of the school population. (Foreigners on short vacations are not counted.)

What happens if parents count their college students at home?

The Bureau runs systems to de-duplicate data as much as they can, so if parents count a student who is on campus, the incorrect count will get eliminated. Students who have completed their own census may want to remind their parents not to count them.

Is the Census Bureau working with college administrations?

The Bureau is working with SUNY central to coordinate counting efforts, and is looking to make more inroads with private institutions. Librarians are a great point of contact between administration and the Census Bureau. If you want to help facilitate a relationship with your institution and the local bureau, please reach out to a partnership specialist. The New York office can put you in touch with your local partnership specialist:

Are college students eligible for Census jobs?

Yes! The Bureau is hiring! College students are eligible to apply to the many part-time and temporary US Census jobs. Librarians can help point them to employment opportunities here:

How else can academic librarians get involved?

As a librarian, you are a trusted member of the community. You can join (or create!) a complete count committee to get involved with the town where you live or work. You can share Census information with your network of family and friends, and with the wider college community, including faculty, staff, students, and visitors. It is vital that EVERYONE COUNTS!


Webinar on Engaging College Students in 2020

This webinar focuses on how college students, organizations, and staff can get involved in ensuring that college students are counted in the 2020 Census. Our guest speakers discusses how the University of Chicago is planning to Get Out the Count (GOTC) on their campus and local community and how students can take part in APIAVote’s Youth Ambassador program!

Why the census is important for academic libraries

Census data are used to make decisions about how and where to spend more than $800 billion each year for programs and services that communities rely on.

Census data also drive federal funding allocations for libraries, including grants to states under the Library Services and Technology Act.

The census population count is used to determine representation in Congress (known as reapportionment) and the Electoral College.

Simply put, communities that are undercounted are disadvantaged economically and politically.

ACRL Newsletetter

The November ACRL Keeping Up With... Newsletter is all about the 2020 Census and what is important for academic libraries to know.

Read the newsletter here.

Recording and Slides - Library Programs and Partnerships in the 2020 Census

See below for a link to the ACRL Library Programs and Partnerships in the 2020 Census session on Monday, December 16, 2019 with speakers Jeff Corrigan, California State university-Monterey Bay; Cathy Hartz, National Partnership Program, U.S. Census Bureau; Kelly Pearson, Phoenix Public Library; Denise Raleigh, Gail Borden Public Library; Albert Santana, City of Phoenix Census Director; and Beth Lynk, The Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights.

 Here’s the recording, The slides are also available here.

Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
21 South Elting Corners Road | Highland, NY 12528
Phone: (845) 883-9065