The U.S. Census Bureau completed the count of everyone living in the United States on Oct. 15. During the 2020 Census, Pima Association of Governments conducted a multimedia regional awareness campaign to support the efforts of the bureau and of regional partners, including PAG members and private sector partners.
The self-response rates totaled 67.6% for 2020 compared to 65.9% in the 2010 Census. Pima County’s response rate slightly edged out the national response rate of 67% and came in ahead of the state self-response rate of 64.1%.
The COVID-19 pandemic arrived during the start of the core self-response period. Campaign adjustments were made as needed to redirect messages. The regional campaign targeted hard-to-count populations including parents of young children ages 0-4, young adults ages 18-24, Hispanics, Native Americans, and low income/renters. Messages were directed to low-response census tracts whenever possible.
As required by law, the Census Bureau will deliver the final count numbers to the president by the end of Dec. 31, or as close to that date as possible due to the pandemic. Final census numbers are used to determine how federal dollars are distributed to states for community programs and services and to draw legislative districts based on population changes.
PAG outreach efforts recognized
For its 2020 Census “Count me in!” regional awareness campaign, PAG earned Best in Show and First Place IMPACT Awards from the Southern Arizona chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. The Impact awards celebrate “outstanding public relations, communications and marketing professionals in southern Arizona.”
The campaign was developed and managed by the PAG Communications team of Sheila Storm, Brad Allis, Mindy, Blake, Kristin Griffin, Melissa Minerich and Curt Poff.
The paid multimedia campaign was conducted in early 2020 and continued through Oct. 15 to inform the public of the importance of participating in the census and to ensure that information provided on the census form is kept confidential.
In spite of the several changes to the count deadline and a contentious political climate surrounding the safety and confidentiality of census participation, 2020 self-response rates for Pima County were higher than 2010 self-response rates.
In addition to providing an online toolkit of census materials for PAG members and other partners to use, the campaign was far-reaching and featured television, print, radio and social media advertising, including on Spanish-language media channels, and email marketing.
Each year, IMPACT Award honorees represent the highest standards in programs and projects that successfully incorporate the four key elements of public relations: research, planning, execution and evaluation.