The county Board of Supervisors recently announced that more than 50 percent of residents had responded to the 2020 Census. However, Los Angeles country remained below the California response rate of 56 percent and the national response rate of 54.6 percent (as of April 29).
“While these numbers are promising, this benchmark shows that unless we get responses from every one of our community members, Los Angeles County will only receive a portion of the funding we need to support essential programs and services,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger said.
“The census is mandatory, and our goal is 100 percent participation from our residents. This milestone serves as a reminder that we’re only halfway there.”
In the last census in 2010, the total self-response rate for LA county was 69 percent. Low self-response rates contributed to the loss of hundreds of millions of federal dollars over the past 10 years due to the resulting undercount.
Another undercount in the 2020 Census would be especially damaging due to the effects of COVID-19.
The census influences billions in federal funding for local hospitals, parks, schools and affordable housing programs in the county. Census data guides funding for programs including the Title I School Funding, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, WIC, Head Start and community health centers funded through the Health Resources and Services Administration Health Center Program.
“Accurate census data helps fund important research and programs that strengthen our public health system. Our communities depend on the census for hospital and medical resources that keep our families safe in times like these,” Supervisor Hilda L. Solis said.
“In critical moments, no one stands alone. I encourage everyone to take 10 minutes of their day to complete the census at 2020census.gov, call (844) 330-2020, or mail in their completed form. Everyone counts in LA county!”
In response to the evolving situation around COVID-19, the US Census Bureau has extended the official deadline to participate in the census. The last day for households to self-respond online, by phone or by mail is October 31.
“We know COVID-19 is at the top of everyone’s minds, and the county of Los Angeles is doing everything possible to keep our families and our communities safe. Getting an accurate count this year will help ensure LA county is equipped to handle crises like the COVID-19 outbreak in the future. Funding for health care and other emergency response programs is dependent on census data,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said.
Added Supervisor Janice Hahn, “During every other census, we have relied on field outreach like door-to-door visits from census workers, community events, and church visits to get the word out to communities about completing the census. This pandemic has made those strategies impossible — but we have adjusted and we are using creative ways to tell residents through the mail, over the phone, and on social media about why completing the census is the easiest, fastest and most effective way to help your community, even during these difficult times.”
For non-English speaking residents, the LA County 2020 Census website offers county-specific information in 16 languages and the US 2020 Census website offers general information in 59 languages including in-language guides.