CA begins final push for 2020 census responses

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COMMUNITIES across California are still urged to fill out their 2020 U.S. Census forms as the deadline approaches at the end of September.

The decennial count, which can be done by phone, online or mail, enumerates where individuals live as of April 1.

“Fundamentally, our message is clear: time is running out to make an impact on the funding for the next 10 years for your community,” Ditas Katague, the director of the California Complete Count campaign, during a press call on Monday, August 31.

The results help guide how $675 billion in federal funding and resources, from medical services to infrastructure projects, are allocated to communities annually. States lose approximately $1,000 per person each year for the 10 next years for those who are missed in the count.

It also determines how many representatives each state gets in Congress and is used to redraw district boundaries.

“We really want to emphasize taking just a few minutes to complete the census because it’s safe, secure and drives those critical dollars into education and health care programs,” Katague said, adding that everyone can be counted regardless of background or immigration status.

By the end of August, over 10.2 million California households have responded to their questionnaire forms. The state’s self-response rate is 67.3%, which is above the national average of 65%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Leading up to September 30, the state will be focusing on a final push in some 2,000 census tracts that have the lowest response rates and are the hardest to count. The hardest to count county in the state is Los Angeles County, which has a current rate of 62.6% compared to 69% in 2010.

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, enumerators have begun knocking on doors of households that haven’t responded, while following local public health guidelines and conducting interviews while socially distancing.

Door knockers are also available in various languages, such as Tagalog.

One of the methods that has worked in recent weeks is through a texting and phone banking effort that directs callers to the census bureau’s hotline to get responses.

Other counties that the state’s count committee will be focusing on include San Francisco, Santa Clara, Santa Barbara, Fresno, Kern, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange and San Diego.

“This is an opportunity for individuals and households to take the census into your own hands and to make sure your voice is heard because no one else should be defining who you are,” Katague said. “This is exactly the way in the next 30 days that you can absolutely have an impact on your community.”

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