Saida Maalin
Contributor

California Census Officials ask Californians to Respond This Week

Aug 12, 2020 | Community

The 2020 Census officials held a media briefing on Friday, July 31 to discuss the concerns of responsive and nonresponsive counts in communities throughout California due to the determination that door-to-door canvassing may not occur as planned. 

The novel coronavirus has created complications which have hindered the U.S. Census’ door-to-door operation from gathering data from non-responsive households. A nonresponse follow-up operation is underway to persuade Californians to fill out their 2020 census form, especially those who are least likely to respond. 

“The Census is important for everyone,” said Ditas Katague, director of California Complete Count – Census 2020 Office. “We need all Californians to do their part…since efforts will begin shifting away from self-response. It’ll take all of us to reach an accurate and complete count.”

The briefing was led by Diana Crofts-Pelayo, Assistant Deputy Director, California Complete Census. Emilio Vaca, Deputy of California Complete Count, joined Katague at the briefing.

According to Vaca there is no doubt that COVID-19 impacted the ability to safely conduct person-to-person outreach. 

Census partners have quickly adjusted their outreach and tactics and together have remained focused on finding new and innovative ways to reach the hardest to count Californians including virtual engagement tactics.

The Census 2020 Partners are close to 150 local, regional and statewide focused organizations that are doing their part in helping gather census data, share information, and ensure data safety.

“Now is the time when everyone needs to act because we only have a week left of self response before the neighborhood canvassing begins,” Vaca said.

Currently there have been 9.7 million Californian households that have responded to the 2020 Census and 2 million are hardest-to-count. California’s self response rate is the highest among all other states and is above the national average at 64.1% in contrast to 62.8%.

It is currently indicated that only four states have a current self response rate (SRR) above their 2010 SRR. This includes Nevada, Washington, Kentucky and Michigan. 

California also has the highest average SRR in foreign-born representation which has a higher than medium share of the tracts population. Also in comparing California to 10 other states with similar ethnic and racial diversity, California is still a leader and has been only surpassed by Maryland and New Jersey which have smaller populations.

The 2010 Census final participation rate for California was 68.2% versus 66.5% on a national scale. 

According to Vaca, there has been data collected that some areas which have been easier to count in the past are responding lower than others. Malibu, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and Studio City all have lower response rates. Also Newport Beach and Carmel by the Sea are in similar predicaments. 

Door-to-door operations in California began August 11 when census takers started visiting neighborhoods with low response rates, known as Non-Response Follow Up (NRFU). 

“We’re encouraging those households that haven’t responded to go online or call. I always like to tell folks this is a door knock by answering on your own right now. You can do it, it only takes 10 minutes and no one has to come to your door. Answer this week. The census is our duty,” Katague said.

Further information on U.S. Census Bureau’s NRFU operation visit https://2020census.gov/en/census-takers.html. You can fill out the Census online at https://my2020census.gov, by phone at 844-330-2020 or by mail if you received a paper form. 

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