Counting on the 2020 Census

Friday, November 16, 2018
Counting on the 2020 Census

The 2020 Census will have far-reaching impacts on the future of our state, particularly for California’s low-income workers whose perspectives are often missing from the policies and institutions that shape our lives. With the upcoming census facing unprecedented challenges, it’s vital for funders to get engaged now to ensure equal and fair representation for the state of California. Although the state has committed significant resources, much more is required to reach California’s diverse communities across the state.

Why Census 2020 matters

Census data guides the allocation of billions of dollars in federal resources for California, including anti-poverty programs, Medicaid, and other social services. California’s poverty rate is one of the highest in the nation–and is rising.

According to the California Poverty Measure, 19.4% of Californians lack enough resources to cover basic needs. More than $766 billion in federal resources are at stake for California over the next decade, based on results from the upcoming census and redistricting processes.

And projections suggest that California will have almost 3.5 million more residents in 2020 than in 2010, putting a potential new seat in Congress at stake.

But the upcoming census is facing serious obstacles, including the addition of a citizenship question on the census form. This will discourage participation, especially from “hard-to-count” populations.


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