By Juan Calvillo
Despite litigation concerning the end date for the 2020 Census, data is still being collected and everyone needs to be counted.
2020Census.gov, the Census’ website, has details on response rates for the Census per state. Currently California is at 96.7 percent counted or enumerated.
These figures are gathered through self response, either online, over the phone, or through forms and through enumerators counting of non-response people.
Los Angeles Regional Census Center media specialist Patricia Ramos said that despite all that the country is going through, the Census Bureau has continued on counting.
She said that currently enumerators are out continuing to count people who were non-responsive and that in the coming week, more people would be counted.
“That 3.9 percent of the California population that has not been accounted for, they (enumerators) are still knocking on those doors. The homeless that will be counted next week, they are being counted as well. And we are also finishing up with other special operations such as the counting of college students, the counting of people in transitory locations, like people who are living in RVs,” Ramos said.
She said college students, even those in community colleges should fill out the census.
Ramos said that these students may have been living closer to their campus before, but are now not because of the pandemic. She said any of these students should remember to put on their census where they would have been living as of April 1 and not where they currently live.
This is due to some students returning home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Al Rios, dean of continuing education and workforce development, has been working on campus and with multiple community groups on informing students about the census since before the pandemic hit.
He said that when the pandemic struck he was invited to a student government meeting where he informed them of the various connections they could use in the local area when it came to the census.
Now months later he said that the most important thing to get across was that of being counted.
“It means funding for the next 10 years. It’s the formula that the federal government uses to allocate resources, funding for health care, for education, for transportation,” Rios said.
He said it is critical to be counted. Rios said that funding lost for those not accounted for was something in the realm of $2000 yearly.
He said that not being counted, or being undercounted could cause losses of congressional representation since population size affects that.
Scott Svonkin, member of the board of trustees for the Los Angeles Community College District said that early on in the process the board passed a resolution supporting efforts for the census.
He said students should know that filling out the census is completely safe no matter their situation.
For things like voting a person would need to be registered, but when it comes to the census there is no registration.
More importantly all information is confidential.
Oftentimes talking points make it sound like the entire purpose of the census is about getting money for the state. However, Svonkin said that it shouldn’t be seen as taking as much money as possible.
“So it’s really about fair share. What the federal government does is, based on how many people are in a geography a lot of funding is allocated,” Svonkin said.
He said that this allocation can be negatively affected if there is an undercount of people.
Svonkin said that getting a correct count doesn’t mean that California is more important. It just means that it has more people than smaller states population.
“There are three things that every student and every person in their families should do.
“Number one is to fill out the census in the next few weeks. Number two is go vote or fill out their ballot that’s mailed to their home.
“And the last thing is, wear a mask. That shows you care about those around you,” Svonkin said.