Census Week response numbers show promise, but more work needed in coming months

April 10, 2020 /

Canvassing groundwork by various groups in California encouraging participation in the 2020 Census can be credited with a spike in statewide response during Census week.

According to California Complete Count (CCC,) the March 30 – April 5 calendar window, also known as Census Week showed a spike in 9.1 percentage points, which translates into an estimated 1.36 million self-responding households.

The CCC works with more than 120 partners including local governments, Tribal Governments, K-12 schools, County Offices of Education, community-based organizations, state agencies and departments, faith-based organizations, labor unions, small businesses, ethnic and mainstream media outlets and others.

A look at the numbers

On April 1st, Census responses increased 3 percentage points – about 435,000 California households responded to the Census form on Census Day. As of April 9th, 47.2% (of California households have self-responded to the Census (an estimated 6.9 million households). California has the greatest number of households responding to the Census form compared to other states.

In Kern County (population 839,631,) total response rates jumped from 32.0% to 39.8% during Census Week. In comparison, Fresno County (population 930,450,) rates jumped from 33.5% to 42.2%. Population numbers taken from the 2010 Census.

“We understand there is still more work to be done to make sure all Californians, especially those who are hard to count, fill out their questionnaire. We are proud of the work are partners are doing to push these self-response rates,” said Ditas Katague, Director of the California Complete Count, in a press release. “We’d like to remind everyone that filling out the Census form will help bring needed representation and resources in California’s diverse communities.”

Paper form reminders from the U.S. Census Bureau are being sent out to non-respondent households beginning April 8th through April 16th.

The confidential, simple 9-question Census questionnaire can be completed quickly online and by phone, with assistance offered in 59 different languages.
What Californians Need to Know About the 2020 Census:

  • The Census is a simple, confidential 9 question survey.
  • Questions include name, address, sex, race, ethnicity, age, and whether you own or rent the home.
  • Californians should self-identify in regard to race, ethnicity and gender.
  • Make sure you count everyone in your home, including any friends or family members who are living and sleeping there most of the time.
  • The Census Bureau will never ask about your citizenship status, or for sensitive information like your social security number, bank accounts, or payments/donations.
  • The Census Bureau will never reach out to you on behalf of a political party.
  • Your responses to the Census are protected by law and cannot be shared with, or used by, any other government agencies. Answers cannot be used for law enforcement purposes, to determine eligibility for government benefits or immigration enforcement.

Related story: Census 2020 In-Language Support Lines Now Available.

Kern Sol News is a youth-led journalism organization in Kern County. In their stories, reporters shine light on health and racial disparities in under-served communities across Kern. For more stories by South Kern Sol, head to southkernsol.org.

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Matt Munoz

Matt Munoz is Project Coordinator and Reporter at Kern Sol News. He may be reached at matt@southkernsol.org.