US Census Bureau – Full Count 2010 Regional Clergy Residents Engagement (P)

US Census Bureau – Full Count 2010 Regional Clergy Residents Engagement (P)

In 2008, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation provided a grant so the US Census Bureau would be able to utilize the established “Regional Clergy Engagement” (RCE) to augment the Census Bureau historic, but ad hoc, efforts to engagement clergy as “trusted community leaders” to encourage residents to join the census process.

Clergy fulfilled this Census Bureau priority to engage in partnership with “trusted community leaders” with access to vast numbers of residents.  Congregations are the first “home away from home” for new residents, including immigrants, who are connected with few community institutions outside of congregations, and who speak wide-ranging languages other than English.  While census forms are in wide ranging languages, there is a critical process of sharing census information and communicating about specific concerns of immigrant and temporary residents.  For this, clergy have the greatest personal contact for information sharing and personal trust to endorse the process. They are also best situated to highlight the impact on resources for immigrant and temporary residents of a “Full Count.”

Working with the core components of the regional clergy database and congregation mapping, a modified form of the congregational certificate and the tracking system, the San Mateo County based Census staff was able to systematically identify and enlist clergy, especially those who served individuals in the “hard to count” identified zip codes.  What was unprecedented for the Census Bureau, as stated in their letter of endorsement, was the ability of the staff serving the regional clergy to identify and follow up with clergy of congregations with congregants who matched the resident population in the “hard to count” zip codes, but who lived and/or worshiped outside those locations, where the demographic was more mixed and that zip code did not reflect a “hard to count” zip code.

Critical to the success of this partnership was the ability to provide the US Census staff with Trainings in Multi-Faith Awareness and the Religion Sector Glossary, essential benefits resulting from the initial Foundation project, supporting partnerships with the institutions of all the civic sectors.

The Grant enabled the staff serving the regional clergy and the US Census Bureau staff to create a “Full Count Campaign” for clergy.  It was initially mailed and followed up with regular emailed updates to all clergy, including Census 2010 ongoing census responses by city as they came in through the course of the census count. Clergy were also able to enlist congregants to assist with the Census Bureau homeless count, again to maximize benefits on their behalf.

This project provided the US Census bureau with the partnership to achieve a significantly greater count with the “regional clergy engagement” components, methodically applied to the census process.  Furthermore, it provided an important opportunity to advance (a) the understanding of the multiple possibilities and applications of the Religion Sector innovations and (2) the working knowledge of the Religion Sector Specialist.


Rabbi Jay Miller   RELIGION SECTOR 3.0
1.0  On the Town Square         2.0  Walls of Separation
3.0  Alignment: Among Congregations – Within Society      650.740.4411