It's Census Day in the United States, which means it is time for residents to stop putting off filling out their Census form and make sure that everyone counts.
County officials say that while the recent spread of the novel coronavirus has made counting particularly challenging, the ongoing crisis has shown exactly why an accurate count is so vitally important.
They added that, while the coronavirus and county shelter-in-place order may have hindered people's ability to go outside, it has never been easier for residents to respond to the Census from the comfort and safety of their own home.
“The stakes are incredibly high, as the recent COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important federal funding and representation in our government can be for our county,” said Board Chair Candace Andersen. “From day one, our focus and the key to ensuring a complete count has been to reach the hard-to-count populations in Contra Costa County. Everyone counts.”
An immense project undertaken once a decade, the U.S. Census aims to count every resident in the country and determines how billions of dollars of federal funding are distributed to each state every year for education resources, affordable housing programs, nutrition and health care services.
The Census also determines how many officials each state is allocated in the U.S. House of Representatives.
As of March 31, only 40.1% of Contra Costa County residents have responded compared to the state response rate of 34.1%, according to county officials. With the dawn of the internet, it has never been easier to make sure you are counted, every Contra Costa resident can respond to the Census online at https://my2020census.gov.
Applicants who fill out their Census form will be asked nine simple demographic questions including who lives in the household; how they are related; their age, sex, and race; whether they own or rent their house; and their phone number. Questions are completely confidential and will not include a resident’s citizenship status, political affiliation, banking information or social security number.
“Contra Costa County has been preparing for this moment since late 2018, building a coalition of partners and trusted messengers to encourage everyone to be counted, counted once in the right place, and to want everyone to be counted,” said Supervisor Diane Burgis. “Go online at http://my2020census.gov and complete the survey. Your response shapes Contra Costa County’s future for the next 10 years. We don’t get a do-over, so let’s make sure that you and everyone you know is counted.”
County officials have placed a particular amount of effort on ensuring that members of hard-to-count populations that are historically underrepresented are counted for 2020's Census. Populations are considered hard-to-count for a variety of reasons such as being highly mobile, distrustful of government, require language assistance, or live in areas that are hard to enumerate.
For residents who do not submit their Census application within the next month, starting May 15, Census enumerators are scheduled to begin going door-to-door to homes that have not responded.