Latino Community Foundation op-ed: How the coronavirus could endanger the 2020 census

Friday, March 13, 2020

A Los Angeles Times op-ed by Christian Arana and Jacqueline Martinez Garcel of the Latino Community Foundation.

First, the Census Bureau went without a director for over a year. Then the threat of a citizenship question being added to the census prompted fears of a depressed census count in immigrant communities. And in what has been a chaotic ramp up to the start of the 2020 census, the coronavirus has joined the list of challenges facing the decennial enumeration, a process that began Thursday when most households across the country received an invitation in the mail to fill out the survey.

The coronavirus presents a challenge to the 2020 census because human transmission of the virus has prompted public health officials to discourage large public gatherings and limit social interactions. On Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom recommended communities cancel gatherings with more than 250 people through the end of the month.

Grass-roots organizations and local census “complete count committees” have been planning to use public spaces such as libraries and community centers to raise awareness about the census — and help communities fill out the survey. But new and emerging guidelines could hamstring their efforts to meet with as many people as possible face-to-face.

Read in full...