San Rafael, CA – When it comes time for Marin residents to take part in the 2020 U.S. Census, the County of Marin’s Community Development Agency (CDA) wants to make it count, so to speak.
The results of a preliminary survey from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The U.S. Constitution requires that every American is counted every 10 years. The census determines how many representatives each state gets in Congress and how federal financial support is distributed. Municipalities like the County of Marin use the results to plan for resident needs.
In preparation for the census on April 1, 2020, the Marin County Board of Supervisors agreed February 5 to accept $100,000 from the State of California to conduct census outreach activities in Marin. Marin CDA is taking the lead to establish a Complete Count Committee comprised of a broad spectrum of residents to help create localized messaging that resonates at the grassroots level. The 2020 Census is being labeled as the “first digital census” whereby emphasis will be placed on online self-response instead of mailed questionnaires.
Across the country, two-thirds of respondents to a preliminary survey about the census said they would be extremely likely or very likely to fill out a census form. However, five barriers were identified that might prevent people from participating:
- concerns about data privacy and confidentiality;
- fear of repercussions;
- distrust in all levels of government;
- feeling that it doesn’t matter to be counted; and
- belief that filling out the census form might not benefit the participant.
The preliminary survey identified hard-to-count populations, including racial and ethnic minorities, people who speak languages other than English, those with low internet proficiency, young people who move frequently or have plans to move soon, rural residents, and populations at risk of low response.
Some Marin populations might be reluctant to be counted for those reasons. Others might be willing but have less-than-optimal access to broadband technology and would be considered difficult to reach for such an online survey. CDA staff has evaluated data from the 2010 census and pinpointed several neighborhoods where residents were least likely to respond or hard for census takers to count. Those areas are mostly in San Rafael, Marin City and West Marin.
The first meeting of the Complete Count Committee is scheduled for March 8, 2019. Those interested in learning more about the Complete Count Committee are invited to contact Kristin Drumm at 415-473-6290.