Academic Libraries and the 2020 Census: Reaching College Students

Academic Libraries and the 2020 Census: Reaching College Students is the newest in a suite of resources from ALA to prepare libraries for the decennial count of every person living in the United States. The results of the 2020 Census will shape economic and political opportunity for the next decade. 

Not only do academic libraries help researchers access and use U.S. Census Bureau data, they are home to one of the most hard-to-count populations in the country: college students. College students are highly mobile, may live off-campus as renters, and are typically in the age category of 18-29 years, which a Pew Center for Research study found is least likely to participate in the Census. The Census counts people at their usual residence, where they live and sleep most of the time. This place is not necessarily the same as a student’s “permanent address” in college systems or the address where they are registered to vote.

Academic libraries are well-positioned on campuses to generate awareness about the Census and to partner with campus groups and organizations on events and activities that promote a complete count of college students. Download ALA’s Reaching College Students tip sheet and other resources from ALA’s 2020 Census web page, If you are coming to ALA Midwinter Meeting, attend the ALA session 2020 Census: How Libraries Can Support a Complete Count, which includes University of Maryland iSchool Assistant Professor Ana Ndumu. 

– Gavin Baker, Deputy Director, Public Policy and Government Relations