Every 10 years, the U.S. Census counts every resident in the nation. A complete and accurate count of California's population is essential to the state because the data collected by the Census determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and is also used to distribute billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities. More than 70 federal programs that benefit California, including education, health and human services, use Census numbers as part of their funding formulas. Communities of faith are central to the count as they comprise trusted institutions and leaders that are able to identify and convey the importance of the count to marginalized and "hard-to-find" residents (e.g. undocumented immigrants and the homeless). A key challenge surrounding the upcoming count is the transition from paper to electronic surveys and related confidentiality and security concerns.
As in 2010, the SFIC was invited to participate among community stakeholders on the San Francisco 2020 Complete Count Committee and is being designated to assist in coordinating regional religious communities' participation in the upcoming Census. Thanks to a grant from The San Francisco Foundation, the SFIC was able to engage the assistance of a Coro Fellow, who developed the comprehensive toolkit which we share with you today. Distinct from other census-related resources, this toolkit is tailored for the use of communities of faith in their outreach efforts to their congregants. Additionally, the toolkit provides important resources related to Census employment opportunities, linguistic and technological capacities, as well as how houses of worship can become data collection hubs for Census responses.
We highly encourage faith leaders to review this resource with care and to share it with their congregants, repost on social media and to address this timely and critical matter from their pulpits. Additionally, you are invited to visit the SFIC's dedicated page on our website.