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The 2020 Census, determines where billions in federal dollars are spent for over 70 federal programs that pay for things like roads and schools. The census also decides the number of seats states get in the House of Representatives and the number of electoral votes for picking the president. Images: US Census Bureau
The 2020 Census, determines where billions in federal dollars are spent for over 70 federal programs that pay for things like roads and schools. The census also decides the number of seats states get in the House of Representatives and the number of electoral votes for picking the president. Images: US Census Bureau

COUNT Every Person
Nothing less than your money
& power are at stake

California could lose a congressional seat &
Money you paid through taxes could go to another state

Mar 5, 2020

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By Sen. Bill Dodd 

Census 2020 logoThe 2020 Census, which kicks off April 1, determines where billions in federal dollars are spent for over 70 federal programs that pay for things like roads and schools. 

At the same time, the census decides the number of seats states get in the House of Representatives and the allotment of electoral votes toward picking the president.

There are no guarantees, especially in California, a state with historically undercounted communities including renters, young men, kids, African Americans and Latinos. 

By one estimate, our state was shorted by nearly 3 percent — or 835,000 people — in the 1990 census, and large segments are at risk of being undercounted again this year.

Some say California could be poised to lose a congressional seat. 

Click on image to watch quick video explaining how the census decides the number of seats states get in the House of Representatives. Screen shot: www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=6&v=83UNSPG3BHA&feature=emb_logoThat’s why California leaders have launched a statewide effort to ensure an accurate and successful count this time around, investing in outreach and communication. The California Complete Count Census 2020 campaign will deploy an army of newly hired census workers, the media and community groups to go to hard-to-reach neighborhoods throughout California and urge participation.


Census and Representation video URL:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=6&v=83UNSPG3BHA&feature=emb_logo 

Not surprisingly, many hard-to-count communities are right here in Northern California, including in Sonoma County. In fact, across Senate District 3, which includes Rohnert Park, Petaluma and Sonoma, officials have identified numerous areas where people of diverse demographic and socioeconomic backgrounds are at risk of being excluded. One census estimate says nearly 45% of the district — which at last count totaled nearly 970,000 people in six counties — have some hard-to-count characteristics.

Many immigrants hard workers and tax payers are afraid of the census, leading to many immigrants staying out of the national head count which could have the effect of shifting political power among the states and between the major political parties. Image: pxhere.com - Creative Commons CC0.

What are those traits? Renters and people living in apartments present the biggest challenges followed by low-income and foreign-born people. The fear is some families will not participate in the census because of their immigration status.  The concern was raised when the Trump administration tried unsuccessfully to add a citizenship question to the census. 

Others might not respond because they have privacy concerns or worry about having more than the allowable number of people in their home. Roughly 40% of district housing is renter occupied and 8% moved from outside their county in the past year.

Still others face language barriers. About 10% of district residents have limited English skills, according to census estimates. About two-thirds speak Spanish, 11% speak Tagalog and 7% speak Mandarin or Cantonese.

Some people simply don’t understand what the census is or why it’s so important. About 14% do not have access to the internet and 12% of adults over 25 didn’t graduate from high school.

All of that could skew the results.

Of course, all personal information submitted to the census is kept confidential. Nothing is shared with law enforcement, landlords or anyone else. No one should avoid doing it, regardless of immigration status, age or criminal history. No matter who you are or where you live, everyone counts. 

Starting in late March, census forms will be available in paper form, in English and Spanish, as well as online in 12 different languages.  Heads of households may begin responding immediately, counting every person living in their household.

Click on image How the census informs where hundreds of billions in funding will go each year for things like educationThose who do not respond by May can expect a census worker to knock on your door. And they will be knocking with good reason. Each uncounted person costs Californians about $2,000 per year for the next decade. The loss of information about where people live, how many people there are and what they need can also affect federal for schools, housing and health care.

 

Census and Federal Funding video URL:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLFjPTogMIs 

Money you paid through taxes would instead go to another state. What’s more, the information is used to draw state legislative and congressional district lines, affecting the entire state’s political influence along with the power of certain communities. Even if a state’s total is high enough to maintain its congressional seats, an undercount in an ethnically diverse region could dilute power for that community. 

You are required by law to participate in the census. Image: www1.cuny.eduNot responding is not an option.

Educating Californians about the nationwide headcount is an important job. Everyone must be involved, whether we’re walking neighborhoods or talking to friends about it. We all must be ambassadors for the census to ensure everyone is counted and California receives the funding and representation it deserves. 

Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Yolo, Sonoma, Solano, Sacramento and Contra Costa counties. More information on Senator Bill Dodd can be found at   www.senate.ca.gov/dodd.  

 

 

Comments:

Mar 23, 2020
How about informing folks that the census will not be available for 72 years from 2020 so their information is protected? That's the law that has been in effective and the 1940 is the last census that has been released to the public.
- Christie Trapp

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