Tag Archives: us census bureau

CA Census Hits Hard-to Count-Benchmark But Wealthy Communities Lag Behind

California’s Census self-response rate is a nationwide leader, but many residents in the state’s wealthy enclaves have yet to respond.

9.7 million households in the state have already responded — more than 64 percent — but more than two million households have not participated in the nine-question online survey at census2020.gov. A mail-in form is also available.

California’s self-response rate is higher than the national average – slightly more than 64 percent versus

62.8 percent throughout the country as of July 30, according to data from California Complete Count-Census 2020. California also has the highest average self-response rate in census tracts where a large percentage of residents are foreign born.

As part of its original strategy, California Complete Count focused its outreach on 3.5 to 4.1 million  households considered “hardest-to-count” because they lack access to broadband Internet and therefore cannot complete the online form. Hard-to-count households may also speak English as a second language and live at or near the poverty line.

So far, 2 million hard-to-count households have responded, which meets the state’s initial target and puts it ahead of 10 other states with similarly high racial and ethnic diversity. California has the largest number of hard to count households in the country, according to California Complete Count.

Surprisingly, however, wealthy cities in the state — which in past censuses have been easy to count — have had a lower response rate in the 2020 census. In posh Malibu, for example, self-response rates dipped to 36 percent. In San Francisco, wealthy neighborhoods such as Cow Hollow, the Marina, Pacific Heights, and the Presidio have self-response rates of 53 percent, a startling drop from the 2010 census, when these neighborhoods exceeded 70 percent.

Ditas Katague, longtime director of California Complete Count-Census 2020, the state’s initiative to ensure an accurate census count, said during an Aug. 3 press briefing that there are only a few days left to respond to avoid enumerators coming knocking at the door. All residents in the country are required to respond to the Census regardless of immigration status.

“This is a pivotal time in our nation’s history. Face to face contact is limited,” she said, also noting the uncertainty of door-to-door field work.

U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham announced Aug. 3 that he was cutting short the time for field data collection. Earlier, enumerators were scheduled to continue knocking on doors until Oct. 31. But Dillingham’s memo said field operations would end on Sept. 30 to ensure that the Bureau would meet its statutory deadline of Dec. 31 for delivering census results to the White House.

The shortened timeline for data collection immediately evoked response from critics. House Majority leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, issued a series of tweets Aug. 4, stating: “Last night’s announcement that the 2020 Census will be cut short before its work is done is yet another example of this Administration’s blatant assault on our Constitution and our democracy.”

“Trump has been trying to undermine the Census since before it began. The House will continue to investigate these abuses. With only 6 in 10 people counted so far, I urge the Commerce Secretary & Census Director to insist on conducting the full count as mandated by our Constitution,” tweeted Hoyer.

Katague said she was deeply concerned that field work might be cut short. “A successful count involves enough enumerators and enough timing.”

“We risk a historic under-count,” she said.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

America, Let’s Take a Selfie?

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.