California’s Complete Count — Census 2020, is in full swing, laying out its comprehensive education and outreach campaign to make the public aware of activities and important dates leading up to Census Day Apr. 1, 2020.
Diana Crofts-Pelayo, its assistant deputy director for external affairs and media relations, emphasized that the California Complete Count — Census 2020 Office is not part of the U.S. Census Bureau. ”We are a state office that is primarily responsible for conducting an outreach and education campaign throughout California to get people to be aware of the census and fill out the form.”
“The Census is not new to California and it has always been very challenging to ensure an accurate count, which is why we have invested a historic $187 million that was allocated by the State Legislature to conduct this campaign.”
“We’re coordinating efforts that haven’t been done before,” continued Crofts-Pelayo. “We are working with partners, local and tribal governments, county offices of education and other regional and state organizations throughout the state to assist in our efforts.”
“Because California is so big and diverse, the allocated funds will designate a large portion of the funding to reach the state’s hard-to-count population. Some of the populations include individuals and families that live in places that may be difficult to access because of location and climate.”
“This is why our trusted messengers and partners are so important,” said David Tucker, Northern California lead regional program manager for the Complete Count Office. “They know what outreach methods will best serve their communities.”
“Some of the canvassing that needs to be done will employ people who can traverse difficult terrain and adapt to harsh weather conditions. It is hoped that our partners will deploy workers who are familiar with the population in those hard-to-reach areas,” said Crofts-Pelayo.
“The primary goal here is to educate, motivate, activate,” noted Tucker. “We need people to pay attention to the mailings that will be sent out beginning March 12. We’re hoping for self-responses from the public. For those we don’t receive a response, a follow-up with a personal contact will start in May. All responders can do so online, phone or by mail. We want to make sure all are counted, including those in encampments and at soup kitchens.”
Crofts-Pelayo reiterated that California’s partners will be doing phone-banking, canvassing and door-knocking on doors in hundreds of communities throughout California. “This awareness campaign is to ensure many responders will self-respond prior to April 30th,” she said. “However, this part of reaching out will continue through July, at which point residents can expect to have contact with a census taker.”
“The best way to help communicate our message is through conversation,” said Tucker. “Have discussions about the Census at your church, school, family gatherings, as well as social events. Stress the importance that some of the resources people are now receiving could easily be lost if the census does not have an accurate count, and how that will affect your community for the next 10 years.”
Tucker concluded that by mid-April, the Complete Count Office will have a snapshot of what areas have or have not responded and where more concentration is needed. “Throughout April, our program will be working at ground level,” said Tucker. “If, for instance, we have a low response rate along a certain tract, we can make it a high priority to send our partners to concentrate on those areas. It will then be the Bureau’s responsibility to hire the necessary enumerators and canvassers to work at focusing on and addressing those areas.”
For more information on California’s Census efforts, please visit californiacensus.org or contact the offices in Sacramento, CA at 916-852-2020.