Nessel kicks off state's first 2020 Census 'Be Counted' Town Hall


Leaders who helped kick off the Michigan 2020 Census “Be Counted” campaign Monday, Feb. 17, with a town hall in Pontiac at New Mount Moriah International Church included (left to right) Oakland County Commissioner Shelley Taub, R-Bloomfield Hills; Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter; Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Holloway Waterman; Michigan Statewide 2020 Census Director Kerry Ebersole Singh; New Mount Moriah Bishop William Murphy Jr.; Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel; Oakland County Commissioner Angela Powell, D-Pontiac; and Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner.
– Photo courtesy of Michigan 2020 Census

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Monday kicked off the first Michigan 2020 Census “Be Counted” campaign town hall in Pontiac with a bipartisan team of Oakland County elected officials who highlighted the importance and convenience of completing the census as well as the benefits it brings to local communities.

“We are pulling out all the stops to make sure Michigan gets an accurate count on the 2020 census,” Nessel said. “We are hosting these town halls across the state to get out the word that it’s critical for everyone in Michigan to be counted.”

The Pontiac 2020 Census “Be Counted” town hall was held at New Mount Moriah International Church. All town hall events are free and open to the public.

In addition to Nessel, keynote speakers were Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Holloway Waterman, Michigan Statewide 2020 Census Director Kerry Ebersole Singh, Oakland County Executive David Coulter, Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner, Oakland County
Commissioner Angela Powell, D-Pontiac, and Oakland County Commissioner Shelley Taub, R-Bloomfield Hills, who serves as co-chair of the Oakland County Complete Count Committee that is working to promote completion of the census.

“The goal of the Michigan 2020 Census ‘Be Counted’ town hall tour is to communicate the importance of completing the census, dispel myths and explain how filling out the census is more convenient than ever,” Ebersole Singh said. “The 2020 census can be completed in person, by mail and – for the first time ever – by phone and online.”

A complete census count is critical because it determines how much funding Michigan communities receive for essential services such as public safety, including police and fire, health care, education, roads and other infrastructure through 2030. In 2016, Michigan received nearly $30 billion in federal funding, including $1.1 billion for highway planning and construction, $16 billion for health programs, $5 billion for education, $2.3 billion for food assistance programs and $694 million for housing assistance.

“We are working hard with all of our community partners to ensure everyone in Oakland is counted,” Coulter said. “It’s vital to our representation and the return on the money we send to Washington.”

Statewide, more than 4.3 million Michigan residents are estimated to be hard to count in 2020 or less likely to complete the census, as measured by preliminary federal data on expected response rates.

“Researchers estimate that for every person not counted, communities lose approximately $3,000 per person in federal funding each year for the next 10 years,” Meisner said. “We are committed to working together to motivate every person in Oakland County to complete the 2020 census.”

The Michigan Legislature in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote has allocated an unprecedented $16 million to help with outreach and preparation for Michigan residents’ participation in the 2020 census. The campaign is a collaboration between the State of Michigan, U.S. Census Bureau and the Michigan Nonprofit Association. With the support of the Council of Michigan Foundations, additional funding for the MNA effort comes from more than 40 foundations throughout Michigan.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the enormous impact the census has right here in Oakland County for our police, firefighters, roads, small businesses, schools, seniors and our representation in Congress,” Powell said. “That is why I am telling all Oakland County constituents they need to ‘Be Counted.’”

The 2020 census form consists of nine questions and takes less than 10 minutes to complete – but those 10 minutes can benefit Michigan for the next 10 years.

The only questions that are asked: Name, Age, Gender, Ethnicity, Race, Number of people in the household, Anyone else staying in the house on April 1, 2020, If you own or rent your home, and Phone number.

Michigan’s education push will use traditional and ethnic/minority-owned media such as radio, TV and newspaper ads, direct mail and outdoor billboards, town halls and public forums, in addition to digital channels such as email, mobile and social media.

“Our mission is to inform every person and organization about what they need to know to make sure that all Michiganders are counted and for Oakland County residents to help keep our fair share of tax dollars in Oakland County and the Mitten State,” Taub said.

Learn more about the 2020 census at and


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