Media angles in Census data coverage that you can use!

September 25, 2023
by David Plasterer and Laura Labarre

Since the release of the new U.S. Census data on September 12, there has (rightfully!) been an explosion of press coverage. As anti-poverty advocates, perhaps the most alarming takeaway is the sharp and tragic reversal in progress on child poverty. We know the spike in child poverty relates to the lapse in cash-based support that went out to families during the pandemic. (See a blog post about our early takeaways on the Census data). The end of the expanded Child Tax Credit in 2022 created the most serious gap in support for kids. As you publish media like Letters to the Editor and op-eds about the Census data, here are some helpful media angles you could use:

  • What the Census revealed about your state and poverty: A powerful “hook” for any media piece in your local or state news outlet is what the Census data say about your area. Responding to these reports with your own lived experience is powerful in a letter to the editor or op-ed. Examples of local Census coverage:

San Antonio Express-News

KOIN Portland

  • Ending the Child Tax Credit for families with lower incomes is a betrayal of our values: Many national news outlets make the connection between the end of the Child Tax Credit expansion and the upsetting jump in child poverty. This coverage often asserts what Census data confirmed: U.S. child poverty is a political choice. And many lawmakers are willfully choosing to maintain dire rates of child poverty. Offering your agreement, any additional data points, and your lived experience will help keep this significant topic in the spotlight and shape the discussion. Examples of national coverage with this angle:


New York Times

  • Overall, household incomes fell (while prices went up): The Census data show clearly that U.S. household incomes continued to go down in several states and overall. This means many people’s incomes dropped below the poverty line as defined by the Supplemental Poverty Measure or “SPM” (a way of measuring poverty that considers payments or support from the government). This hook likely has mass appeal because it represents the very real struggle families experience to meet their basic needs and also a worrying reduction in purchasing power to keep the larger economy afloat. Sharing how this trend affects you and your community is an effective way to call for an expansion of the Child Tax Credit or other tax code support (like a Renter Tax Credit). Here are some examples:



The Hill

For more information, check out the recording of the RESULTS policy forum on the Census data. And of course, keep those media pieces coming! Check out all your progress here on our Build the Buy-in Campaign media tracker. Be sure to let us know when you have something published, we can’t wait to update the tracker with your piece!

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