Today, is National Census Day, which is the official kickoff for the 2020 Census that will run through August 14. As the U.S. Census Bureau explains on its website, “The 2020 Census will determine congressional representation, inform hundreds of billions in federal funding every year, and provide data that will impact communities for the next decade.” In the spirit of connectivity and community, Comcast NBCUniversal and Telemundo have launched cross-company campaigns to encourage Americans to participate in the first ever digital census.
The 2020 Census is being called the first digital census because people are being encouraged to participate online instead of with traditional pen and paper (which will continue to be an option, if necessary). This digital-first approach has a lot of merits: it’s more sustainable, it reduces costs, and it collects data more quickly and efficiently. In addition, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to force individuals to limit face-to-face interaction with each other, the move to an online form is even more critical.
So, today Comcast NBCUniversal and Telemundo kicked off a comprehensive, multi-faceted campaign to educate people about the importance of the 2020 Census and lower barriers to online participation. All told, the Company will be investing more than two million dollars in grants and in-kind contributions to support the effort.
“Comcast, NBCUniversal and Telemundo are in a unique position to help increase participation in the first digital census,” said Cesar Conde, Chairman of NBCUniversal International Group and NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises. “By working collaboratively, we will raise awareness about the 2020 Census through our news channels at NBCUniversal and Telemundo as well as on our cable networks and encourage citizens across the country to participate. In addition, we will engage with our extensive network of nonprofit partners to connect the unconnected through our Internet Essentials program, which is designed to help close the digital divide for low-income households.”
In fact, because of our strong relationships with many nonprofit community partners in regions where we operate, the U.S. Department of Commerce asked us to collaborate with the U.S. Census Bureau to do what we can to help encourage 2020 Census participation nationwide.
“Participation in the 2020 Census is critical for helping to determine where federal resources are allocated that can change the quality of life for those living in underserved communities,” said Dalila Wilson-Scott, Senior Vice President, Community Investment, and President of the Comcast Foundation at Comcast NBCUniversal. “Giving back to the communities where our employees and customers live is one of our Company’s core principles, especially during this uncertain time. To help do our part, we’re working directly with key community stakeholders, partners, and organizations that are leading their own grassroots projects to ensure the most accurate 2020 Census count.”
Here are the six ways we are stepping up to help individuals get counted:
- PSAs: The largest aspect of the campaign is a suite of public service announcements, currently running on NBC and Telemundo stations nationwide. The bilingual announcements, featuring Joy Reid, Host of AM Joy and Jose Diaz-Balart, Anchor of Noticiero Telemundo, were crafted in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau to reach and engage with all demographics. The PSAs also will soon be hosted on the X1 Census destination page, along with our partner PSAs, which Comcast helped produce alongside Sesame Street and AARP, among others.
- Hazte Contar | Get Counted: Telemundo, the nation’s leading media company serving Hispanics, developed this robust, two-year campaign aimed at educating and empowering Spanish-speaking individuals and Spanish-language communities to participate in the 2020 Census through broadcast, cable, and digital platforms. The initiative provides critical information for Telemundo’s audience to help raise awareness of the census process and connects them with local community partners. As part of this initiative, the company created a bilingual website that answers questions, addresses concerns, and dispels myths about the census. The site platforms also includes a link to the U.S. Census Bureau’s website.
- Xfinity X1 Census Destination Page: This X1 TV destination page – coming soon – will answer questions, address concerns, and dispel myths about the 2020 Census. To reach it, Xfinity customers will be able to say, “2020 Census,” into their X1 Voice Remote. In addition, customers will be able to enter their cell phone number to receive a link to the U.S. Census Bureau’s website where they can complete the 2020 Census online.
- Xfinity WiFi Hotspots: Through mid-May, anyone can use many of our Xfinity WiFi hotspots to complete the census form for free. Hotspots are open as a result of our comprehensive response to COVID-19. While people should follow the guidance being provided to them by their local authorities, to review a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, individuals should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser.
- 2020 Census Partner Toolkits: We developed and distributed hundreds of Census Partner Toolkits, which include informational flyers and presentation slides that Internet Essentials community partners could use to help break down barriers of trust and encourage census participation in their communities. We also sent direct mailings to tens of thousands of households in communities with historically low census response rates asking them to participate.
- Grants and In-Kind Support: We awarded grants and in-kind support to more than two dozen cities with traditionally hard-to-count communities. The funds will go toward raising awareness about and encouraging participation in the 2020 Census.