5 Reasons You Should Care About the 2020 Census


The census is an official count of the U.S. population that takes place every 10 years. The next census is right around the corner in 2020, which we know will capture an increasingly diverse population of approximately 330 million people.


What may seem like boring, boilerplate people-counting is actually darn important. Here’s why:



  1. It Helps to Shape Congress


Census data establishes equal political representation, both in Congress and in terms of fair allocation of federal funds to local communities. Census data are also used to inform policy debates and decision-making, to guide foundation strategies, investment, and evaluations while measuring socio-economic conditions by area, region, and demographic. The census determines whether Delaware gets another U.S. Representative.


  1. It Funnels Dollars to Delaware


The 2010 U.S. Census allocated two billion dollars, or $2,214 per capita, in federal funds to Delaware. However, there was a significant under-count: one percent of the state (8,979 people) was not calculated in the distribution of funds. This translates to more than $14 million that Delaware missed out on last time around.


For a complete breakdown of the federal funds allocated to Delaware, click here.


  1. Miscounts Can Contribute to Inequities


Miscounting the population is not unheard of. The census count often over-counts non-Hispanic whites, and under-counts people of color (including American Indians on reservations, young children (ages zero to four), immigrant and non-English speaking households, and lower-income people.


Children ages zero to four are the mostly likely age group to be under-counted. African American and Hispanic kids under five are overlooked twice as often as non-Hispanic, white counterparts.


Latino men face greater odds of under-count due to their overrepresentation in the criminal justice system (people in prison aren’t counted) and their lower rates of citizenship. The net under-count for black men between ages 30-49 was more than 10 percent.


“[The] traditional hard-to-count groups, like renters, were counted less well,” Census Bureau director Robert Groves told CBS News in 2012. “Because ethnic and racial minorities disproportionately live in hard-to-count circumstances, they too were under-counted relative to the majority population.”


In Delaware, these “Hard to Count (HTC)” communities face inequitable political representation and potential programmatic funding deficits. Currently, there are 21.4 percent of black communities, 23.6 percent of Latinos, and 8.5 percent of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders living in HTC Delaware census tracts.


  1. It Impacts Students and Education, Too


Under-counting hurts the total number of dollars a state receives for children/student-centered funds like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Special Education Grants (IDEA), Title I (LEA), Child Care Development Fund (CCDF), and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP).


  1. Local Advocates Can Help Get the Count Out


Making sure Delaware gets a fair and accurate census count starts now. Between March 1 and June 30, Delaware state and local government will update the Census Bureau’s master address lists—that is, all the homes that will be contacted by mail, internet, or a home visit. The Funders Committee for Civic Participation (FCCP) recommends community-based organizations create their own canvassing strategy to supplement this process by identifying HTC communities and sharing the data with the Census Bureau. Delaware-based philanthropy organizations and non-profits alike can play a critical role.


  • Funders can spread the word among grantees about why an accurate census count matters for getting equitable federal funding and engaging hard-to-reach communities and populations. For resources and information, grant makers can download the 2020 Census Funder Toolkit from the Funders Census Initiative.
  • Community-based organizations and non-profits can help with canvassing and reaching HTC communities. Community-based organizations can create a canvassing strategy and work with local government and the Census Bureau to collect and submit the information needed. FCCP offers guidance on how to reduce the likelihood of an under-count here.
  • Funders and community-based organizations can collaborate on a campaign to convene organizations to discuss mobilizing an action plan to get out the count. Working together, this campaign can not only make sure organizations are supporting a fair and accurate census count, but it could also inform and inspire citizens to participate in the 2020 Census.

What We’re Reading: How a Broken Justice System Harms Children

What We're Reading
The education world is facing an equity crisis. Students of color, low-income students, students with disabilities, and English learners (to name a few) remain underserved by our current system. While many fight for solutions, gaps in our collective knowledge and understanding of the complexities around educational inequity linger.

Each month, the Rodel team will share some thoughts on a book, essay, article, or video related to equity in education with the hope that we will challenge both ourselves and others to think more inclusively about education reform.


What I’m Reading: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson


While studying as an undergraduate, I interned with the Delaware Center of Justice and became interested in law and public policy. Most of the work focused on the criminal justice system and those most affected by incarceration—disproportionately, African Americans. I put together briefs that detailed the Fair Sentencing Act and how it interacted with mandatory minimum sentencing. It opened my eyes to a justice system wrought with unfairness and suggestions of systemic racial bias.


Just Mercy serves as a narrative portrait of Bryan Stevenson’s time spent representing Walter McMillian in his capital punishment case: one that ended with exoneration for a crime he did not commit after a fifth appeal attempt brought light to police coercion, witness perjury, lack of evidence, and a controversial usage of the Alabama practice of “judge override.”


What does this have to do with schooling? The book raises questions of intervention and the strain of racial injustice in America.


When children come from a broken home or violent neighborhood—or one impacted by incarceration—there is a greater likelihood for trauma to persist, especially when untreated. The role of a school is critical in supporting these students and in responding constructively to crises that affect vulnerable communities. Unfortunately, when a school is unequipped to manage these scenarios, they can end up aggravating the issue further. It’s not uncommon for administrators and educators to actually cause distress when they do not meet a student at their level.


This book broadens the conversation of preventative measures, resources, training and the impact of legal remedy. However, its most distinct service is as a mirror. Why do we accept a justice system that harms our most at-risk citizens—the people it was designed to help?


For more information about Stevenson’s work, visit Equal Justice Initiative.

Digging Deeper: The Many Languages of Delaware English Learner Students


Delaware’s English learner (EL) population is the fastest growing student demographic in the state—seeing some 400 to 600 percent increases in the last decade, depending on what county you are in. ELs are a diverse group of students representing a vast number of languages, cultures, ethnicities, nationalities, and social, economic, and educational backgrounds.


They are students with limited English (language) proficiency who, because of foreign birth or ancestry, speak a language other than English. They account for eight percent—approximately 10,000 individuals—of the student population and three out of four are American-born. They collectively speak nearly 100 unique, native languages. And though ELs comprehend, read, or write little or no English when they enroll in school, studies have shown that students that later identity as multilingual or have exposure to another language, show signs of higher cognitive ability, a greater likelihood of economic benefit, and foster greater empathy for their peers and community.

In an effort to promote awareness about this population of Delaware students, a new series of fact sheets launched by the Delaware Hispanic Commission, the Arsht-Cannon Fund, Delaware English Language Learners Teachers and Advocates, and the Rodel Foundation of Delaware will provide specific insight to the life of an EL, how the state is serving this community, and more.


Click here to learn more about Delaware’s EL students. And here are just some of the 90+ languages spoken by less than one percent of ELs:


Language: Afrikaans

Where? Afrikaans is a West Germanic language, and part of the Indo-European language family, and primarily spoken in South Africa, Namibia and to some extent, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

By the numbers: About 86 Delaware EL student speak Afrikaans. However, there are 7.1 million native speakers of the language, with some 10.3 million second-language speakers.

Common Phrase:Lekker eet!” … “Have a nice meal!”

Fun Fact: Afrikaans is the youngest official language in the world, only having replaced Dutch in 1983.


Language: Gujarati

Where? An Indo-Aryan language native to the India state of Gujarat.

By the numbers: Around 84 Delaware EL students speak Gujarati, but worldwide there are around 50 million speakers, making it the 26th-most-spoken native language in the world.

Common phrase: “નાણું મળશે પણ ટાણું નઈ મળે” … “Choose time over money.”

Fun Fact: Gujarati was the first language of Mahatma Gandhi and Muhammad Ali Jinnah.


Language: Tagalog

Where? An Austronesian language native to the Philippines.

By the numbers: About 42 Delaware EL students speak Taglog, with 28 million first-language speakers and some 45 million second-language speakers. It is both a national and minority-recognized language in the Philippines.

Common phrase:Mabuhay” … “long live,” “cheers,” or, “welcome.”

Fun Fact: The English word ‘boondocks’ is actually a Filipino loanword. The Tagalog word for ‘mountain’ is ‘bundok.’


Language: Marathi

Where? Marathi is an Indian language spoke predominantly by the Marathi people of Maharashtra. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India.

By the numbers: About 18 Delaware EL students speak Marathi, each of whom are a part of the 73 million people that speak it worldwide. With this figure, it ranks 19th in the list of most spoken languages in the world.

Common phrase: “सुप्रभात” … “Good morning.” “शुभ रात्री” … “Good night.”

Fun fact: The Marathi script consists of 16 vowels and 36 consonants—making a 52 character alphabet.


Language: Ga

Where? Ga is a Kwa language spoken in Ghana, in and around the capital city of Accra.

By the numbers: About three Delaware EL students speak Ga. There are less than one million—745,000—speakers worldwide.

Common phrase: “Eŋɔɔ minaa akɛ mile bo ekpe.” … “I am pleased to meet you.”

Fun fact: Ga is just one of the 16 languages published by the Bureau of Ghana Languages, despite the relatively low number of dialectal variation.


Language: Czech

Where? Czech, historically known as Bohemian, is a West Slavic language and official language of the Czech Republic.

By the numbers: Approximately three Delaware EL students speak Czech amongst the 10.7 million native speakers worldwide.

Common Phrase: “Smím prosit?” … “Would you like to dance?”

Fun fact: The U.S. Foreign Institute has ranked Czech the second most difficult language to learn—with a special note to the formal and informal iterations of the language.


Language: Navajo

Where? The language is a South Athabaskan language of the Na-Dene family, which is related to the languages spoken across the western states of North America. It is primarily spoke in the Southwestern United States.

By the numbers: Approximately one Delaware EL student speaks Navajo. There are about 170,000 native speakers. There has been a struggle to keep a healthy speaker base, but has somewhat been alleviated by the extent of education programming on the Navajo Nation.

Common phrase: “tʼáá hó ájítʼéego tʼéiyá” … “Just do it,” “it’s up to you,” or “that’s all it takes (take responsibility for yourself).”

Fun fact: Despite being among the best-documented native American languages, it was used as a code language during WWII due to no Navajo dictionaries being published.

Digging Deeper: Physical Health Impacts Education, Too


In Delaware, and across the nation, schools are providing a deeper focus on both social and emotional learning and physical health. Next month, community members, educators, and policymakers from across the state will converge at the University of Delaware to talk about the intersection of health and education at the 10th Annual Vision Coalition Conference.


We often hear about the correlation between higher levels of education and higher salaries and lower unemployment rates. And we know that a person with a higher level of education is more likely to move up the socio-economic ladder, be an active citizen, have a better understanding of political issues, and more likely to vote in elections. However, we don’t often hear about the relationship between educational attainment and health—despite the fact that a positive relationship exists.


Students with high levels of education are also more likely to enjoy healthier lifestyles—reducing health care costs over time as they exercise more, smoke less, and experience lower rates of obesity. So how are Delaware youth doing when it comes to physical health?


A survey of Delawareans ages found that overall, children and youth are exceeding the Center for Disease Control’s recommended 60 minutes of physical activity daily. Still, as students get older, they typically spend less time exercising. The Center of Disease Control reported physically active students tend to perform better academically, have better memory, and exhibit on-task behavior—all traits necessary for academic success.


In fact, the CDC suggests a complimentary relationship between health and education—that is, the healthier your lifestyle, the better your academic performance (and social and emotional skills) and the higher your educational attainment/academic performance, the greater the likelihood you live a healthy lifestyle.


Of course, physical health alone will not win high academic marks on its own. Access to quality, comprehensive, and coordinated family-centered care is attributed to higher in-school performance and a lower likelihood of risky behavior.


On average, just six out of 10 of all Delaware children have access to adequate medical care. However, there are still major disparities between children of color and their white peers. For example, more than 60 percent of Hispanic/Latino children in Delaware do not have access to the adequate medical care.


As this field continues to expand, it is important to note that developing the “whole child” is not a new idea. In recent years, there has been a renewed focus on providing students with social and emotional learning, physical and mental health development, nutrition, and exposure to the arts. The incorporation of social and emotional skills—communication, collaboration, critical thinking, empathy, and creativity—along with strong academic components has generated positive outcomes for children in Delaware and beyond. (For more information on Rodel’s engagement in the area of social and emotional learning, visit our website here.)


Despite the gains in both areas of health and education, Delaware still has a lot of work to do in setting up our young people for successful lives after graduation.


Want to get involved? Here are some local groups leading the charge.


  • Delaware Readiness Teams are working in communities throughout the state to ensure kids are healthy and ready to hit the ground running in kindergarten by advocating and promoting developmental screenings, referral, and follow-up services; making sure families receive information on children’s health and developmental milestones; and, promoting alongside families’ activities that education on health and wellness.


Want to learn more? Visit our blog for more developments or our posts on the whole child approach, our latest screening of “Resilience,” and more.