The U.S. Census Bureau announced the winners of the first-ever 2020 Census “Get Out the Count” Video Challenge during a live virtual event. Prizes were awarded under The America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Reauthorization Act of 2010, which provides agencies with the authority to conduct prize competitions to stimulate innovation, solve tough problems, and advance their agencies’ core missions.
Highlighted on Challenge.gov, the “Get Out the Count” Video Challenge called for engaging video content to explain the importance, use, and safety of the census, and how to complete it. The competition challenged contestants to make the 2020 Census a must-do for communities, particularly those considered “hard-to-count,” such as racial and ethnic minorities, young and mobile populations, families with young children, LGBTQ+, non-English speakers, among others.
“When we launched this competition in March, we could never have anticipated the challenges we face as a nation and need for continued support of our census,” said Ron Jarmin, deputy director, U.S. Census Bureau. “These inspiring and engaging videos help to reach hard-to-count communities, ensuring people are counted and more voices are heard through Census completion.”
Census Accelerate, an initiative of the Census Bureau’s innovation arm, awarded the prizes to the top three most engaging, impactful and informative short-form video submissions that demonstrate the importance of the 2020 Census, while encouraging viewers to respond online, by phone or by mail.
The three winners are:
The three winners commented on their videos snagging top honors in the challenge.
Grand Prize winner Keaton Davis explained: “The most rewarding thing has been sharing (the video) with friends. After we completed it, someone who works for the census saw a snippet on Instagram, contacted me and told me that she showed it to a community not far from where we live. An elderly farmer saw the video and was encouraged to take the census because of it.”
The Latino Community Fund of Georgia was the runner up. Executive Director Gilda Pedraza said: “We are so excited to accept this award. We will ensure the prize is reinvested to make sure that people continue to be more visible and those resources will get to our community, not only financial resources, economic resources, but also power so that we make decisions for our own communities.”
Recent high school graduate Austyn Malynn described what participating in and winning this competition means to her: “I’m going off to college in the fall and this money will really help me to further what I want to do in my life. I had to explore a new side of me with the art and animation in the video, as it was my first time doing it. I’m honored to be recognized on a national level…never in my wildest dreams!”
A panel of judges selected the top videos from over 750 nationwide submissions. The videos, ranging from 30 seconds to three minutes in length, focused on mobilizing hard-to-count communities to respond to the 2020 Census. Watch the full awards program on YouTube.
Communities benefit most when everyone responds to the 2020 Census. Results help determine the distribution of billions of dollars in funding annually for 10 years for critical public programs and services, such as schools, hospitals, emergency response and infrastructure. Census data also determine the number of congressional seats for each state.
The Census Bureau’s online response rates map tracks response rates by state, city, county and census tract. As of June 26, 2020, 61.7%, or 91,200,000 households, had responded to the 2020 Census.
People can still respond to the 2020 Census by visiting 2020census.gov, by phone or by mail.