The 2020 census continues, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. (Paul Sancya / Associated Press)
Inglewood High School

The California Complete Count – Census 2020 Office works to accurately count residents statewide

The decennial census aims to count all U.S. residents, determining the amount of federal funding a city and state receives, and the number of seats in the House of Representatives.

California invested $187 million to fund organizations that work to ensure hard-to-count Californians are counted, said Diana Crofts-Pelayo, Assistant Deputy Director of External Affairs and Media Relations of the California Complete Count – Census 2020 Office.

The California Complete Count – Census 2020 Office is the state’s outreach and communication efforts to motivate Californians to take the Census. Though it’s not affiliated with the U.S. Census Bureau or federal government, California is working with over 120 partners to motivate people to respond to the Census form.

The California Complete Count – Census 2020 Office has been working to educate residents about the 2020 census since 2018. They reached out to people across California explaining what the census is, what it asks and how to submit it. California Complete Count – Census 2020 Office also helps people understand who is being counted and why their participation is so important.

The U.S. Census Bureau is working nationwide to conduct specific research and to count all residents in the country.

“If people are more comfortable with what the procedure is going to be, what the questions are going to be. Hopefully, they will participate more,” said Patricia Ramos, U.S. Census Bureau representative.

In California, the state worked to track down those who are considered hardest to count. This includes people who live in overcrowded houses, live with roommates, families with babies, or people who don’t have access to the internet.

There has been a variety of ways people can learn about the census and how they can apply. For the first time ever people are able to apply for the census online in 13 languages, including English and Spanish.

The California Complete Count – Census 2020 Office and the Census Bureau have been working with partnership specialists and trusted messengers to help inform people who don’t have internet access or are considered hard to count.

California is working with community-based organizations, local governments and businesses to try to get the word out on the census and help with applications. Trusted messengers are organizations that the community already trust and help with the hardest to count residents.

“We really want to get the word out there, and how we’re doing that, is that we are partnering with organizations throughout the state,” Crofts-Pelayo said.

California is investing in the state’s hardest-to-count residents.

“We just want to ensure that we’re spreading the funding to communities that will benefit the Hardest to Count Californians,” Crofts-Pelayo said.

Organizations such as First to Five are helping families, mothers, and fathers. This organization does specific outreaches towards families who have children from 0 to 5, to make sure that their kids are counted for the next decade.

“They do a lot of great things for families, mothers, fathers, and children to ensure they count their little ones,” Crofts-Pelayo said.

All people are given multiple opportunities to complete their Census survey. If they don’t turn it in, a federal Census taker will knock door-to-door to aid in the process.

“Every person is important,” Ramos said. “So we are trying to give every opportunity to get everybody to respond.”


Editor’s note: This story was updated on May 12 to accurately reflect the difference between the California Complete Count – Census 2020 Office, the U.S. Census Bureau, and their efforts in encouraging residents to complete the census. The California Complete Count – Census 2020 Office is investing in California’s hardest-to-count people, separate from U.S. Census Bureau. This article had originally credited the Bureau with work that the California Complete Count – Census 2020 Office is completing.