Counting on participation

Count Me 2020 works to provide an accurate Census count of San Diego and Imperial counties. Photo Courtesy Count Me 2020

The US Census begins in San Diego County on March 12 and on Friday, March 6, the Count Me 2020 Coalition and Engage San Diego held a “train the trainer” session to teach staff and volunteers proper procedures and rules to teach staff and volunteers the proper rules and procedures to help the 2020 Census to the “hard to count” communities of San Diego and Imperial coun­ties at the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA.

Count Me 2020 Coalition is a group of state partners, govern­ments, and community organiza­tions working to motivate and ac­tivate underserved communities of African Americans, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, immigrant, refu­gees, veterans, LGBTQ, seniors, and individuals and families dis­placed from homes.

With a proper county, the state of California could bring in $115 bil­lion through 55 federal spending programs. The Census provides vi­tal information about the regions growing population and infrastruc­ture, which impacts the everyday lives of everyone living in the U.S. Proper collection allocates funds for community support programs, new schools and hospitals, roads, firehouses and has the ability to cut new districts. This is also im­portant information for businesses in decisions of where to open new locations, creating and supporting more jobs in the region.

Getting a full and accurate count in San Diego and Imperial Counties (Region 10) is vital for our vibrant, growing region – not only for us, but for future generations to come, said Ray Major, SANDAG chief Data and Analytics officer.

“If everyone in our region is counted, it could help bring more money to our region for transpor­tation, housing, and community programs,” said Major. “In addition, census data helps SANDAG ana­lyze commute patterns and plan for improvements to our region’s transportation network.”

California is investing $187.2 mil­lion to outreach and educate the hardest-to-count populations on the 2020 Census, funding the efforts of municipalities, non­profits, and community-based organizations to ensure Cali­fornia’s communities have fair representation and funding as a result of 2020 Census participa­tion. Results of the 2010 Census showed that San Diego County is the 21st hardest county to count and Imperial County was designated as the most under ­counted region in the entire state. Data from the Advancement Project said the uncounted number could be higher in 2020 with as many as 783,277 people at risk of not being counted.

The region was awarded more than $4.4 million by the State of California to fund their efforts to increase Census participation in the 230 Census tracts most at risk of undercount. An ad­ditional $400,000 was provided through San Diego Grantmak­ers.

“Nonprofits and community members, funders, and govern­ment agencies have been talk­ing about how to make sure that we reach our hardest-to-count neighbors for nearly the past two years,” said Megan Thom­as, vice president of collabora­tions and initiatives, at San Diego Grantmakers. “For this once-in-a-decade opportunity to promote fair representation and secure the funds we need to sup­port a thriving San Diego and Imperial region, we are doing our best work, together.”

How to Take the 2020 Census in San Diego and Imperial Coun­ties Online: Complete the ques­tionnaire at the official website, on your desktop computer or mobile de­vice, or through Questionnaire Assistance Centers and Kiosks hosted by libraries, govern­ments, and community groups at various locations around the region. A full list of locations will be posted to countme2020. org in the next few weeks. The online self-response form is provided in 12 languages plus English, and 59 other language assistance guides are provided online, including in Braille and large print.

  • Phone: Response can be made by phone. Depending on the language preferred (12 languages plus English), there is a toll-free number a resident can call. Call the Census Bureau Customer Service Center at (800) 923-8282.
  • Paper Questionnaire Form: If requested, a paper form can be provided in Spanish and Eng­lish, as part of the update/leave campaign and for those who do not receive mail at their physi­cal address.
  • In-Person: In-person home visits by official Census enu­merators will begin in April 2020 to visit college students who live on campus, people liv­ing in senior centers, and others who live among large groups of people. In May 2020, Census enumerators will begin visiting homes that haven’t responded to the 2020 Census by April 30, 2020, to help make sure every­one is counted.

For more information and locations visit www.count­


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