Census Progress Lagging in California Amid Shelter In Place

Census Worker Going Door to Door
Photo credit Getty Images

Census field operations have been suspended until mid-April and that suspension will likely be extended given the shelter-in-place order.  The nationwide response rate, not surprisingly, is lagging where it was a decade ago. Progress on the Census has been slow so far.

“As of March 30 the nationwide response rate was 34.7 percent compared to 46 percent on the same day in 2010,” said California Congresswoman Jackie Speier, “so you can see we are easily 10 percentage points behind where we were in 2010.”

Speier said an undercount in 2020 could impact California funding for schools, childcare, health and emergency services, and the number of congressional seats.  California is already anticipating losing one congressional seat due to population migration to other states.  Speier has joined 100 lawmakers in writing to the director of the census bureau.

”[we are] hoping they will extend the period of time that we can peruse the count,” said Speier.

California residents can participate even if they are sheltering at home, either fill out the form that was sent to their home, or phoning the number listed on that form.

“You can go online to 2020census.gov where the census is available in 13 different languages,” said Speier.

Census information is only used to generate statistics and can’t be shared with immigration or law enforcement agencies.