Click here to see an interactive map of the hard to count tracts the census is focusing resources on.
Filling out a census form may seem like a mundane task. But Ditas Katague would argue it has profound consequences.
“It’s about power, and it’s about money,” Katague said about being counted in the 2020 census. She directs the California Complete Count – Census 2020 Office, the state’s effort to get all residents in this year’s federal tally.
Politically, Katague says national census numbers help determine how people are represented in Washington D.C. and how districts are drawn all the way down to the city council level.
And the data play into how much health and education money flows into local communities. For every Californian who is not counted, $1,000 from the federal government falls by the wayside — every year for 10 years.
That’s part of why California census takers are doing a big push to get everybody counted before this year’s September 30 deadline.
More than 10 million California households have responded to the 2020 census so far — more than any other state, according to the California census agency.
Now, the state is spending $10 million to focus enumeration efforts on 2,000 census tracts that have low response rates.
Most of those resources will go to just 955 tracts that have been designated as “hard to count,” for a host of reasons, including a high concentration of limited-English speakers, renters or low-income residents.
Using data provided by California’s census office, CapRadio created the map below to show where Californians may be hardest to reach, and where census takers will be focusing the most resources in the month of September.
The 955 hard-to-reach and low-responding census tracts are spread across 21 counties, but more than half of them are concentrated in Los Angeles County. They include parts of the following counties:
- San Joaquin
San Francisco Bay Area:
- Contra Costa
- San Francisco
- Santa Clara
- Santa Barbara
- San Bernardino
- Los Angeles
- San Diego
California census takers will be phone-banking, door-knocking and leaving census information at businesses and services still open during the pandemic.
The California agency says enumerators will be following COVID-19 health protocols, and will wear masks for home visits, being sure to stay outside.
California census officials say getting accurate household data helps shape what our communities look like, from where new hospitals or clinics go, to how many teachers and classrooms are needed in a given area.
Businesses and nonprofits use the numbers to figure out if a grocery store would be viable in a neighborhood, and where philanthropy should be invested.
That’s why, Katague says, “being counted is really about having a voice.”
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