As the 2020 Decennial Census approaches, it's never been more important that all of us in Contra Costa County work to ensure that we are all counted.
U.S. Census Bureau information is used to determine the number of Congress members each state will have and how $675 billion dollars of federal funds flow to tribal, state and local governments. In addition, these counts are crucial to decisions at state and local government levels that affect our communities, e.g. siting of schools, hospitals, libraries, and other public services.
An undercount could divert millions of dollars in federal funds annually away from Contra Costa County.
There are two key changes to the Census in 2020, both of which could make a big difference for our County:
1. Census reporting will be available online for the first time. This technology reduces resource expenditure on door-to-door canvassing, but inequitable access to the web remains a challenge across West County.
2. The addition of the citizenship status question, which could reduce participation among our immigrant communities.
If these additions cause Census undercounts, we could face a number of negative consequences, including impacts on Congressional seats for California and federal funding in states and communities with a large number of immigrants. The citizenship question is currently being challenged in court by the California Attorney General, but we must prepare for the worst.
During a recent report to our Board of Supervisors, we learned that
each person who remains uncounted will cost the county an estimated $2,000 annually in federal funding. Therefore, if the final tally is off by just 5 percent, the county could lose $1.1 billion over 10 years.
Our board has approved funding support for an outreach plan. We'll create a steering committee to develop a plan which will likely include weekend events, adopt-a-block style programs with residents contacting neighbors, festivals, sports events, and more.
For more information, please visit our
or contact County Planner Kristine Solseng at Kristine.Solseng@dcd.cccounty.us
More information is to come, but we need to all be thinking now about the importance of Census 2020 to ensure our County is best positioned to thrive.