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It is Census Day, a snapshot of our country, but what is happening with the census during the COVID-19 outbreak? 

A panel of experts shared information at a telebriefing held on April 1, 2020, in partnership with Ethnic Media Services

Though Census 2020 kicked off on March 12th, the deadline has been EXTENDED to August 15, 2020.

This gives everyone more than enough time to complete the NINE question survey. That’s right, only nine questions. 

There are no questions related to citizenship, so everyone living and working in the States – should respond to the census  regardless of citizenship status.

Ditas Katague, Director of California Complete Count  and a census outreach veteran, shared  interesting insights into census statistics. So far, 37.9% of Californians have already filled out the census; the national average is 38.4%. California leveraged its efforts to address diversity within California by budgeting  $187 million to increase the count – a significant increase over the 2 million budget Katague received for the 2010 census. California is a difficult state to count because of its teeming diasporas; hopefully this larger budget will be able to address the needs of those who have been undercounted in the past. 

Eleven million out of California’s forty million residents are hard to count. June Lim, Demographic Research Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, explained that hard to count populations include immigrants, non-English speakers, older people, and minorities that distrust the government. Asian and Asian Pacific Islanders are a demographic that is “least likely to respond because they believe the census bureau won’t keep their information private.” However, everyone is protected by Title 13 of the U.S. Code and personal information cannot be given to anyone, including the President.

“Our communities will be taken more seriously if we’re counted,” stated Basim Elkarra, Executive Director of CAIR,  a sentiment that was endorsed by the other speakers. It is imperative that minorities get the representation they deserve. The census determines “power, money, and data”, Katague emphasized, because it has become more transparent than before that “data drives emergency funding.”

The US Census Bureau has suspended activity because of the pandemic and is planning to start census efforts again on April 15th. People  do not need to worry about anyone knocking on their door amidst the fear of spreading coronavirus, especially if they respond online, by phone at 1-844-2020-0274, or mail. 

The best way to avoid contact with the virus and to continue social distancing is to complete the census online.

For more information, reference our previous article here!

Coverage for Census 2020 has been facilitated through a grant from the United Way Bay Area.

Srishti Prabha is the current Assistant Editor at India Currents and has worked in low income/affordable housing as an advocate for children, women and people of color. She is passionate about diversifying spaces, preserving culture, and removing barriers to equity.
Coverage for Census 2020 has been facilitated through a grant from the United Way Bay Area.

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