Chamber Convenes Local Leaders to Launch Census Initiative

Memphis, Tenn. - The Greater Memphis Chamber is proud to announce the launch of a new effort to increase the 2020 Census response rate in the Greater Memphis region. The census initiative is led by a group of public and private sector leaders who are eager to create a path forward to building an inclusive and resilient economic recovery for the Memphis region.


The team is committed to increasing the Census participation to ensure that our city receives its fair share of federal and state funding.


Currently, Memphis is at a 52% self-response rate, and our goal is to get to at least a 74% self-response rate.  An undercount for the 2020 census as low as .8% - +1% could result in losing more than $8M of funding per year, and will possibly result in losing 1 – 2 additional seats in the TN General Assembly, as well as District 32 (Collierville) potentially being moved out of Shelby County, losing significant county dollars.


In 2010, it is estimated that Shelby County had an undercount of .3 – 1.5%, resulting in a loss of around $2M - $8M in federal and state funding annually, and one seat in the TN General Assembly.


The Chamber connected these individuals with the goal of leveraging their expertise to guide a series of short and long-term initiatives to help ensure that Memphis and Shelby County can be well-positioned for economic recovery. Increasing the response rate of the Census is the group’s first priority in which they have already began working with area businesses to get employees to fill out the Census and to offer free space for Census training.


“This crisis has laid bare some challenges in our community that can no longer be ignored,” said Gary Shorb, who is a part of the team. “The business community has to lead on helping build an economy for our region where all Memphians can prosper.”


There are a number of factors impacting participation in the 2020 census with COVID-19 being the most alarming. In response to the challenges, the team is structuring tactics to reach target groups to increase communication and access to those who may be unaware or lack information about the census.


The last day to respond to 2020 Census has been pushed up from October 31 to now September 30. It is now even more critical that we work together to increase Census participation so that every Memphian gets counted in time. For more information, please visit