Council Memo

Update on the 2020 Census


Department:Community DevelopmentSponsors:

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Recommended Action: This item is for presentation only. No formal action will be taken.


Item Summary


The 2020 United States decennial census activities officially kick off in 1st quarter 2020, which is identified as the “Educate and Motivate” phase. The City of Prescott is participating in the regional “Complete Count Committee” (CCC) administered by Yavapai County. In addition, Mayor Pro Tem Billie Orr was appointed to the Governor’s State Committee as a regional representative working to enhance the likelihood of a complete count in the rural parts of Arizona. The purpose of this agenda item is to briefly update the Council and Mayor on local activities taking place and review the City’s active strategies for maximizing participation in Prescott.





The Council may recall that this important national event, as established and required by the U.S. Constitution,  was introduced to the Mayor and Council via a Council study session presentation back in August 2019, when a Proclamation was entered on behalf of the City of Prescott, designating the City’s support for local, regional, state and national decennial census activities. The proclamation included the federal government’s official tagline for Census 2020 activities, “Counting everyone once, only once, and in the right place.”

The decennial census is important to our local community, as well as our state and nation, for some very succinct reasons: 

·         It’s required by the Constitution, as determined by our founding fathers;

·         Its results define and determine the distribution of more than $675 billion in federal funds, grants, and fiscal support that is funneled down to the State level, which equaled approximately $400 per Arizona resident in State Shared Revenue, as determined by the 2010 Census results;

·         It determines fair representation for each state in the House of Representatives by allocating Congressional seats based upon an updated population;

·         It determines the equitable re-drawing of the boundaries of the congressional and state legislative districts to account for population shifts, ensuring fair representation in both state and federal governments;

·         It is the base representation at the local level of fulfilling our civic duty, and participating at the individual level in our democracy;

·         It says, “I COUNT!”


This presentation will bring the Council up to date on local activities of the regional “Complete Count Committee” as well as those activities undertaken by the City of Prescott specifically to ensure a high level of participation by Prescott residents. In particular, the City will be performing targeted outreach in January, February, and March, during the “Educate and Motivate” phase, to specific organizations, agencies, and public and private sector entities, identified by the regional Census office as follows:

·         January: HOAs, County Health Department, Utilities, local Registered Contractor’s organization;

·         February: Schools, Libraries, Utilities, Churches, Fraternal Organizations, Non-Profits

·         March: Media, YCSO, Emergency Services, Courthouse events


CENSUS DAY IS APRIL 1, 2020. In anticipation of having local residents respond by either mail, phone, or online, Community Development is working closely with the City Manager’s office/ Communications and Outreach Manager to get Census 2020 messaging in front of the constituents of Prescott early in and throughout the 1st quarter. These activities will be represented by not only a visible presence in downtown Prescott (large banner across Gurley Street at Cortez will be installed in the coming days), but a number of radio PSAs, website ad banners placed by participating organizations, and physical reminders such as tent cards for the tables at the public library and in City Hall are being produced and placed for optimum visibility.


In addition, monitors in City Hall will be displaying promotional messaging about Census participation in between the video segments that normally run throughout the business day.

Community Development is performing more specific outreach to certain suspected, historically under-counted segments of the community, such as assisted living communities, clients of non-profits engaged in homeless assistance (Point-in-Time annual count takes place in January), those attending local colleges and universities, and sober living homes. The direction from the U.S. Census regional representatives is that people should respond and be counted WHERE THEY ARE on Census Day, April 1, 2020. That includes part time residents who split their time between multiple residences, as well as those who are in Prescott for rehabilitation services, or those who are attending college or university here.


The City of Prescott is committed to promoting a complete count for the benefit of the local community, and to meet the national objectives of the decennial census, which also equate to state shared revenues per person at the local level, and also make important federal grant funding available to our local community for public service projects, public safety, and other important local objectives.


Attached to this Council memo is easily understandable information on the U.S. Census, 2020 Census Key Dates, and information on the apportionment of federal funding to Arizona as a result of anticipated successful Census activities.



Meeting History

Jan 14, 2020 2:00 PM  City Council Study Session Meeting
draft Draft

Community Development Director Bryn Stotler provided an update to Council regarding the 2020 Census. Historically the Community Development department has been very involved in the process and are again. The first quarter is focused on education and development. She thanked John Heiney for his help in embarking on the public information campaign to reflect the importance of being counted “once, only once and in the right place”.

Ms. Stotler commented that community updates will be provided with pamphlets, press releases, social media weekly postings, over road banner, public presentations, utility bill messages, city website landing page and radio appearances. One focus for the census this year is to organize around the more difficult populations to count and ensure all groups are counted including the homeless population. Questionnaires will get to residents by early March and residents may respond by phone, mail and for the first time ever, online.

Mayor Pro Tem Orr discussed sitting on the Governor’s committee and will be meeting on February 4th to discuss PSAs. Her part is rural areas across the state of which there are many. It is important that everyone gets counted for our community and our state.

Ms. Stotler stated that she will return with an update for Council again next month.