2020 Census Update – We’re Making Progress, but Our Work is Not Done!

We have three months left: let’s ensure everyone is counted!

July 29, 2020

Since our last 2020 Census update, there have been some new developments we are pleased to share. In April, our California Census response rate was 54 percent, and as of July 27th, 2020, it is 63.9%. That is a nearly 10-percent increase during a once-in-a-century pandemic – which is amazing progress! Let’s keep the momentum going and increase the self-response numbers through October 31, 2020.

The California Complete Count – Census 2020 Office estimates that for every person not counted, California could lose $1,000 a year for ten years. That would mean a total of $10,000 lost per person in funds over the next decade. During a time of unprecedented crisis brought on by the pandemic, it is even more important for us to ensure every Californian is counted. The recent federal CARES Act relief funds, through which more than $2 trillion were distributed, were automatically calculated based on available census data – if we miss people in the 2020 Census, it can have dire consequences in the future.

NEWS FLASH:
Trump Administration issues memorandum on July 21st, 2020, instructing Commerce Secretary Wilber Ross “to the extent practicable” to leave out undocumented individuals from the decennial census apportionment data. The president does not have final authority over the census and this will likely trigger legal challenges. Our national partner, Partnership for America’s Children has issued a statement, opposing this unconstitutional memorandum and outlining potential harm of such a move to the nation’s children and families. We will provide updates as they are received.

PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: myBlackCounts.org & The California Black Census and Redistricting Hub

Amid a nation in turmoil, uprising, and reflection, the 2020 Census continues to move forward. It represents a meaningful action the community can take to ensure everyone is counted for vital resources today and in the next decade. Community organizations around California have been working for over two years to plan, advocate, and engage policymakers and communities to ensure an accurate count in the 2020 Census. The “Hard-to-Count” populations include communities of color, immigrant populations, language isolated, at-risk or are homeless, people with disabilities, and young children; many communities face multiple factors that may make them less likely to be counted in the 2020 Census. The California Black Census and Redistricting Hub (aka The Black Hub) was formed to maximize participation in the 2020 Census amongst the Black community. California is home to the fifth largest black population in the country, representing over three million people and 8 percent of the state’s population.¹ The Black Hub has created myBlackCounts.org to provide centralized information and resources for community leaders and organizations interested in supporting census outreach efforts in the black community, check out their 2020 Census PSA’s on their Youtube channel.

The Population Research Bureau (PRB) shared analysis on “Hard-to-Count” populations, focusing on young children – the hardest to count age group overall (under age 5). Based on their assessment of at-risk census tracts, they found that 81 percent of young children (over 13 million children under age 5) live in high-risk or very high-risk census tracts for undercount in our country. Of those children,  young Black children are most at risk for being undercounted, with 48 percent of young Black children living in tracts with a very high risk of undercounting young children as compared to 38 percent for Latinx children and a relatively low 9 percent among non-Hispanic white children.²

Children Under Age 5 Living in Tracts With Very High Risk of Undercounting Young Children, by Race and Hispanic Origin, 2014-2018, Source: PRB

Children Under Age Five

Percent in Census Tracts With a Very High Risk of Undercounting Young Children

All children

Hispanic/Latino

Black alone

Asian alone

American Indian / Alaska Native Alone

Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander Alone

Non-Hispanic White alone

Two or more races

25

38

48

28

31

31

9

22

Also, as we shared in this blog post, children living with grandparents had a 39 percent higher risk of being missed in the last census. California has more children living with grandparents than any other state. While 4.2 percent of Black grandparents reported living with children, 36.5 percent of those living together reported being the primary adult responsible for their care.

The challenges created by the pandemic are heightened by an undercurrent of historic and current systemic discrimination, poverty, growing distrust in government, and disenfranchisement that existed well before COVID-19 emerged on the scene. In addition, the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Stephon Clark, and too many others have resulted in a collective call to action to end excessive public funding and overreliance on police and use of force, to increasing investment in community mental health services, social services, and equitable economic and education investments in the Black community. Census data has been and will continue to be an essential resource for community organizing efforts, researchers, and policymakers to help identify opportunities to invest public funds as well as for holding systems and decisionmakers accountable.

Census data is utilized to calculate funding levels for several major federal programs. For example, critical ongoing programs such as Medi-Cal, housing assistance, nutrition programs, Head Start, education funding, and others utilize census data to automatically calculate annual funding levels. Ensuring communities are accurately counted means vital resources are distributed more fairly. During a time where life can feel overwhelming, ensuring every single person is counted is a crucial and simple positive action that each of us can and must take.

 

GRANDPARENTS AND YOUNG CHILDREN: SOCIAL MEDIA RESOURCES AND CONTENT

Since children living with grandparents have a 39% higher risk of being missed in the census, it is critical to raise awareness about the importance of reaching grandparents and older caregivers with young children in the 2020 Census. Making sure these older caregivers see themselves and recognize their role in completing the 2020 Census is a crucial component of every community outreach effort.

Children Now has created a comprehensive resource page that elevates content focused on grandparents, young children, and communities of color – it includes the myriad of toolkits created for the 2020 Census by organizations in California and around the country, as well as social media content and photos you can use in your efforts to reach diverse constituents in your community.