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Detroit Counts: Census 2020

Census information, events, and outreach for the City of Detroit, 2020.

ALERT: The deadline for the 2020 Census has been moved to September 30th, a whole month earlier than previously announced.

The Wayne State University Library Stystem is proud to announce a series of programs to explore how the US Census tells us about our past and shapes our future.

Here Are Our Goals:

  • To share information about how the U.S. Census shapes our community and influences its future
  • To highlight the Census as a critical primary source in scholarship across disciplines
  • To show the community how they might use census data for their own interests
  • To encourage participation in the 2020 Census

Join us for a series of online events about the Census and how it shapes our next 10 years!

If you click through our past events below you can see the videos of each. This way, even if you couldn't join us you still have the opportunity to learn more about the Census! 


Past Events:

July 29th, 4P.M. (EST)

Hard to Count Communities: Who Are They and What's at Stake?

WSU's Dr. Hayg Oshagan will be talking to us about hard to count communities and how the Census is critically important to them, both in terms of resources (such as health and education) as well as with political representation and redistricting. In this vein, Professor Oshagan will update us all on the status of the Census, discuss the challenges in minority participation, and give an overview of the statewide Census campaigns.

Dr. Oshagan is on the Census committees in Detroit, the Detroit City Council, Wayne County, and the Michigan Non-Profit Association. He has given over 50 talks and interviews about the Census this year alone, and he does media outreach for ethnic and cultural groups across the state. So make sure you join us to learn more about who the hard-to-count are, how the Census helps them, and why some people do or do not respond to the Census!

Facebook Event

Zoom Link for Event

July 8th, 12P.M. (EST)

We’re Counted? Now What? Using Census Data for Interdisciplinary Research and Teaching

Join WSU Professor Richard Smith as he discusses how to use Census Data in the classroom or to answer research questions. He paints a picture of how Census data allows researchers and professionals to plan for activities as diverse as community asset mapping, health equity, and racial justice. The workshop will introduce users to various sources for Census Data as well online mapping services.  These portals allow students to visualize data and save maps on their own website, or download data for use by a desktop application. (The workshop does not assume prior knowledge of GIS).


Contact meghan(dot)courtney(at)wayne(dot)edu for more info!

Past Events:

Why the Census? June 3rd, 4P.M.

Do you know why some areas get more public funding than others, or where to find Census data to support a community improvement grant? Wayne State University Librarian Monique Oldfield and University of Michigan Librarian Catherine Morse introduce us to why the Census matters so much and how we can access this powerful information.

Parts 1&2 of the Presentation



Seeing the Census June 17th, 10A.M.

Have you ever seen a map of your neighborhood and wondered how it was made? Join Alex Hill of Wayne State's Urban Studies Department and Michigan State University Librarian Amanda Tickner to learn more about how the Census data can show how our communities grow and change over time.

Parts 1&2 of the Presentation


Contact meghan(dot)courtney(at)wayne(dot)edu for more info!

How to Get Involved


  • Host a virtual Census sign up event for people in your neighborhood! 
  • Ask local businesses to put up a poster. People will be flocking to businesses as they open back up, so it will be the perfect time to get the information out there!


  • If you know people without a computer or Internet access, give them the phone number to call. They can still be counted!
  • Text, tweet, share, and spread the word about the census with your family, friends, and colleagues.

undefined The Census website has images like this you can send! Get people fired up!

ALERT: Fill Out the 2020 Census

  • The deadline for the Census has been moved to September 30th!
  • It only takes 10 minutes!
  • Can't do the Census online? Call the toll free number at 844-330-2020.
  • Your personal information is protected for 72 years, so fill it out honestly!

Want to check out the questions on the Census form before filling it out? The Census Bureau lists them here!

Census Info

The Census Has Guides in 59 Non-English Languages

The Census Bureau Will Never Ask You For:

  • Your full Social Security number.
  • Your bank account or credit card numbers.
  • Anything on behalf of a political party.
  • Money or donations.

How Detroit Counts

Census Data Guide