Recap of Census
2020 Webinar

Presented with 
January Advisors

If you’d like to watch a recap, you can do that here.

If you'd like to preview the mapping tool we shared during the webinar, you can find it here.

We'd love to hear your feedback and to answer any other questions you have. Please feel free to email Frances (, Jeff ( and David (

Here are the written answers to your questions during the webinar:

Would there be a way to get the raw data of this map by zip code?
The data on low response scores is from the Census Bureau's Planning Database, which is available for download here: Unfortunately, the Census only providers low response score estimates for census tracts and block groups, not zip codes. However, by using GIS software it is possible to estimate low response scores at the zip code level. We'll be updating the map tool with those estimates in future iterations. Stay tuned!

How were the partner organizations chosen?
From the very beginning, Houston in Action has tried to reach out to everyone. HiA is willing to work with any community partners interested in collaborating to fulfill its mission of a complete count and empowering underserved communities in Greater Houston. If you'd like to get involved, reach out to Frances at

What's the source for those low response rates (from the last map we saw)?
The data on low response scores is from the Census Bureau's Planning Database, which is available for download here. You can learn more about the methodology behind the low response score calculation here.

How can an ordinary citizen help with this effort?
Great question! First, you can support a local organization (with donations or volunteer time) that is already doing census-related work in these undercounted communities. For a full list of partners check out Houston In Actions check out their website: Second, when the Census comes, we want people to stay engaged. Don't just fill out the form and forget about it. Tell your friends and family about how much the Census means to your community!

How can the offices of elected officials help with the Census count?
Elected officials in undercounted communities should take the lead to support community efforts through their networks and resources. This is essential to the work Houston in Action is doing. They can also take the lead in shining a light on the importance of the Census and building trust in undercounted communities.

What is a realistic census response rate - is there a goal and a push goal? What areas of the country have particularly high rates? How will we be able to track progress against that goal?
The response rate is the number of households that respond to the initial census form and do not require additional follow-up by census enumerators. Having a high initial response rate is good because it means Federal and local officials do not have to spend as much money following up with non-responders. It also decreases the chances of an undercount. Most large cities and counties have around 75% of households responding to the initial form. The more work we do now to build community infrastructure, awareness, and trust, the better off we'll be. You can learn more about the predictors of response rates and how other cities fare here: The undercount, by contrast, is the estimated number of people that the Census misses in its count. In 2010, the Census missed around 1% of the Texas population. But that varied across demographic groups. For example, the Census undercounted Black and Hispanic households but overcounted White households. Likewise, children under 5 in Texas were 7 times more likely to be missed. As the Census begins next year, local governments will receive periodic updates from the Bureau on initial response rates. However, the size of the undercount will not be known until after the Census is largely complete. After the count, the Census conduct a post-census survey, with a focus on households likely to be at risk of an undercount and overcount (e.g., those with small children, young adults). In some cases, the Census adjusts the final counts base on this survey.

When we contribute to/are involved in shaping and maintaining the systems, services, and structures that help our families and community be their best, they can improve our quality of life and opportunities to have a good life, good jobs, and prosper.

HiA is the collective power of people and organizations throughout the Greater Houston area coming together to promote community leadership and break down systemic barriers to civic participation.
View our partner organizations
United Way of Greater Houston 2020 Census Response Grant