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ABFE Digest
Special Issue
US Census 2010

Keeping Our Members, Supporters and Friends Informed

February-March 2010 Issue

"The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of 10 years, in such manner as they shall by Law direct." 

-- Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States

In This Issue of ABFE Digest
Reminder: What's At Stake.
The Undercounted: Who Are They?
Promising Practices from an East Coast Funder
Promising Practices from a West Coast Funder
What Funders-Grantmakers-Foundations Can Do
Challenges for Census 2010

Need To Know Facts and Data 

-- In each census, the undercount of Blacks has been disproportionately higher than the undercount of non- Blacks.

-- As of July 1, 2008, 41.1 million is the estimated population of Black residents in the United States, including those of more than one race. They made up 13.5 percent of the total U.S. population.

-- 38% of Mississippi's population was Black in 2008 - the highest of any state. Blacks also made up more than a quarter of the population in Louisiana in 2008 (32 percent), Georgia (31 percent), Maryland (30 percent), South Carolina (29 percent) and Alabama (27 percent). They comprise 56 percent of the population in the District of Columbia.

-- There are 24 states in which Blacks were the largest minority group in 2008. These included Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.  

-- 38% is the proportion of the Black population which is younger than 18 as of July 1, 2008. At the other end of the spectrum, 8 percent of the Black population was 65 and older.

Census Timeline

March 2010

Census forms are mailed or delivered to households
April 2010
National Census Day-use this day as a point of reference for sending your completed forms back in the mail
April - July 2010
Census takers visit households that did not return a form by mail
December 2010
By law, the Census Bureau delivers population information to the President for apportionment
March 2011
By law, the Census Bureau completes delivery of redistricting data to states

(source: Census Bureau)

Additional Information

-- Visit

-- Why Are Young Children Missed So Often in the Census?  A Report by The Anne E. Casey Foundation.

Note From Susan Taylor Batten
ABFE President and CEO

Susan Headshot
Grantmaking to address the US Census 2010 undercount in Black communities is a good use of philanthropic resources. 

Strategic philanthropy is about influencing the "big" money in this country -- the equitable distribution of public resources to those most in need.  ABFE hopes that the relationships grantmakers have made with Black organizations and other communities of color across this country to facilitate a more fair and equitable Census 2010 will continue well beyond April 1st. 

Our work on Census 2010 is both a means to an end as well as an end in and of itself.  Susan Taylor Batten

Reminder: What's At Stake 

Census 2010
  • Distribution of more than $400 Billion in public funds each year
  • Distribution of political power
  • 10,000+  single members districts
  • Civil rights enforcement
Biggest Programs Where Dollars Are Driven by Data from the Census Bureau (FY 2007 obligations in billions of dollars)
  • Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid)  -- $261
  • Highway Planning, Construction and Transportation -- $36.8
  • Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers  -- $15.3
  • Special Education Grants to States -- $10.8
  • Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies -- $7.5
  • Very Low to Moderate Income Housing -- $7.3
  • State Children's Insurance Program -- $7.1
The Undercounted: Who Are They?
  • Men more than women are undercounted; racial/Hispanic minorities more than non-Hispanic Whites
  • Young adults and children are missed more than others.
  • Renters more than homeowners.
Census 2010 Men and Children
Undercount of Children

  • Age group with the highest undercount rate was under the age of 5.
  • 750,000 under age 5 missed which is 4% of this population (minority undercount higher)
  • Little attention from the Census Bureau focused on this population in media and partnership programs.
Promising Practices from an East Coast Funder
Bithiah L. Carter, President, NEBIP
Bithia Carter

New England Blacks in Philanthropy (NEBIP) members have worked diligently to ensure a complete US Census Count in 2010.  Under the leadership of Kelly Bates, 'Access Strategies' (a NEBIP member organization), took the lead in creating a Massachusetts Census Equity Fund to provide grants to non-profit agencies, coordinate efforts across the state of Massachusetts, and create a learning community to educate funders about the importance of the census and redistricting. 
NEBIP sees this work as core to our mission of ensuring that Black communities are fairly represented.  Most importantly, as we seek to build stronger communities we need to ensure that their voices are heard. 

Bithiah L. Carter, President, New England Blacks in Philanthropy (NEBIP)

Promising Practices from a West Coast Funder
Bay Area Blacks in Philanthropy (BABIP) recognizes the importance of the US Census 2010 and its tremendous impact on Black communities nationally. We believe that community-based agencies play a key role in educating citizens about the census process. As funders and philanthropy professionals, BABIP has sponsored three activities to encourage Black community-serving nonprofits to conduct census outreach.

Cedric Brown, Chair, BABIP
Cedric Brown 2

BABIP hosted a Census outreach seminar, highlighted by a presentation from Census Bureau staff and connecting attendees with a local funding opportunity for census outreach. Seven organizations that attended our seminar received funding. We also encouraged participation through an email blast directing our contacts to the census resources listed on our website. And finally, we will launch a final email blast to members of Northern California Grantmakers, our regional affinity group, encouraging funders to spread the word to their grantees, who will encourage their constituents to participate in the census.

As funders, we may be a step removed from direct community service, but we, too, have a role to play in creating buzz, answering questions, and allaying fears about the census participation in Black communities, from our immigrant to re-entry brothers and sisters. We want everyone to be counted! 

Cedric Brown, Chair, Bay Area Blacks in Philanthropy (BABIP)

What Funders-Grantmakers-Foundations Can Do 
  • Fund local ethnic media to cover the Census
  • Pay for local leaders time to work with the Census Bureau
  • Fund organizations to hold neighborhood educational meetings about the Census.
  • Fund grassroots organizations to develop and distribute material.
  • Distribute Census Bureau Materials
  • Provide Meeting Space

    BEYOND 2010
  • Documenting what we learned in 2010
  • Testing for 2020 Census (Where to count prisoners, racial identification, how will Census be taken (internet) and implications for marginal groups.

Challenges for Census 2010

For more than 60 years, evidence from the Census Bureau has shown that marginalized and disadvantaged groups such as racial minorities and low-income communities are the most likely to be undercounted.  The Census Bureau faces increased challenges in achieving a full and complete count in the 2010 Decennial Census.  There are a number of reasons: 

  • A housing market that will leave many families living in unconventional shelter at the time of the census (homeless, families doubling up, temporary or short-term accommodations etc.) which makes counting more difficult. Since the Census asks people to be counted at their "usual place of residence," any factors that contribute to uncertainty about where people live can have a negative impact on census counts.
  • A large Federal budget deficit(in contrast to ten years ago when the federal government was running a budget surplus) will make getting needed funding more of a challenge.
  • State and local governments (with budget problems of their own) won't be able to devote as much money to this census cycle as they did last time. For example, California State Government provided $25 million to promote the 2000 Census but will only be able to give a couple of million dollars this cycle.

Sources: For this report ABFE compiled information-data from:  Annie E. Casey Foundation, Census Bureau, Population Estimates, Bay Area Blacks in Philanthropy, New England Blacks in Philanthropy.

ABFE extends a special thanks to the information provided by Dr. William O'Hare, Senior Consultant at the Anne E. Casey Foundation, Cedric Brown, Director of the Mitchell Kapor Foundation and Bithiah Carter of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley

Susan Taylor Batten, President
Marcus F. Walton, Director of Programs 
Sharon D. Toomer, Director of Communications and Membership
Christine Nicholson, Membership Coordinator 
Joshua Powers, Director of Administration  
Floria Abney, Administrative Associate 
Erika Davies, Resource Development Coordinator
Lynne Algrant, Professional Development Coordinator   

ABFE Digest is produced by ABFE Communications.  For information or questions please contact Sharon Toomer at

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ABFE members are dedicated to promoting effective and responsive philanthropy in Black communities. Established as the first official affinity group of the Council on Foundations, the organization was founded in 1971 on the principle of the importance and value of diversity, inclusion and equity in philanthropy.  ABFE counts among its membership staff, trustees and donors of grantmaking organizations committed to Black communities.  For more information please visit or contact ABFE at 646.230.0306.