Census 2020: Everyone Counts!
By Erika Matadamas, CFMC Program Officer and 2020 Census Complete Count Committee for Monterey County
What is Census 2020?
Every 10 years, the United States Census undertakes the operation of counting everyone once, only once and in the right place. For some of us, it is standard practice to receive the form in the mail, fill it out and then send it back in.
The process of counting everyone as mandated by the United States constitution is incredibly vital to ensuring our community receives its fair share of resources.”
Census data provides a snapshot of our community and officials rely on the information to determine how much money each state should get for federally funded programs that include education, infrastructure, medical assistance and housing among many other services.
Fundamentally the census determines political representation in Congress and designates the number of seats each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives and provides important information that helps businesses, cities and nonprofits plan for the future.
Hard-to-Count Populations & Other Challenges
Achieving a fair and accurate count in the 2020 Census will present many challenges in Monterey County because of the high number of hard-to-count populations. “Hard-to-count populations” are communities which have typically been under-counted in past census enumerations at disproportionately high rates. Approximately, 35% of Monterey County’s population live in hard-to-count areas.
Hard-to-count populations include: racial/ethnic minorities, immigrants and refugees, people with disabilities, LGBTQ individuals and families, homeless individuals and families, seniors/older adults, veterans, children aged 0-5, households with limited English language proficiency, households with limited or no internet access, farmworkers, individuals who live in rural areas, and renters.
There are many barriers that can deter someone from participating in the 2020 census. Although the Supreme Court ruled against including the “citizenship question,” immigrant communities are distrustful of providing their information. For the first time ever, most questionnaires will be collected online, making it difficult for households that lack digital access to participate.
A complete mobilization effort is underway in Monterey County to ensure all are counted and those most vulnerable are educated about the importance of participating in the census. Nonprofits, cities, county officials and grassroots leaders are collaborating at all levels.
Census 2020 Fund
The Community Foundation for Monterey County is committed to supporting these efforts and has established the Census 2020 Fund so nonprofits can apply for grants to provide education and outreach in hard-to-count populations in our community. Sunlight Giving and the Siembra Latinos Fund of the CFMC have already contributed to the fund. CFMC will also be a regranting partner of funding from the State for community-based organizations participating in census outreach efforts.
The CFMC is part of national philanthropic movement to mobilize resources to local organizations engaged in census outreach.”Erika Matadamas
This is an all hands-on deck mobilization effort. It will take every one of us to encourage our neighbors and families to not just participate in the census but have access to the appropriate information.
Give to the Census 2020 Fund
Make a contribution to the Census 2020 Fund. Grants will be distributed to nonprofits. Monterey County is receiving support from the state but it will not be enough to ensure a complete count.
This is the time to become involved because ultimately a healthy democracy is dependent upon all community members being able to be civically engaged and have influence over decisions that impact their lives.
Join the Monterey County Complete Count Committee and learn how to be engaged in future efforts.
Get informed and learn what’s at stake here locally and nationally. Spread the word in the community.