The Central Valley and the 2020 Census 720x720

The Central Valley and the 2020 Census

The relationship between the Central Valley and the 2020 Census is considered to be a challenging one due to a combination of factors that will make it difficult to achieve an accurate and complete count in the decennial enumeration process. However, there is also a growing and very promising involvement of organizations and institutions interested in being part of the efforts.

Challenges

An initial and obvious challenge is that the population in the Central Valley is dispersed over an immense geographic region that is larger than many states of the Union. This increases the costs of reaching in an effective manner the numerous communities and households.

Unlike  some other parts of California, the local governments in the Central Valley have not become involved in the 2020 Census efforts until recently and in a more limited manner. There is no doubt that this is due in part to the availability of more limited resources, particularly in the smaller counties and local government, but one must also include in the equation the more visionary planning of leaders in places like Los Angeles, where a complete count committee has been in existence two years before the 2020 Census.

The socio-demographic characteristics of the Central Valley population also point to the existence of sizable proportions of hard to count communities. This includes low income families, rural residents, low literacy individuals, communities with limited access to broadband, immigrants and others. 

Opportunities

Despite the challenges to achieve and accurate and complete count in this region of the Golden State, there are also many encouraging signs and developments.

An evident sign found in the region is that there are now many organizations and institutions becoming involved in 2020 Census efforts – and the potential for greater involvement exists.

The coordination between local complete count committees, funded agencies, city and county governments, state census officials, the Census Bureau and the private sector is taking place.

The possibility of financial support from the philanthropic community is increasing, as funders realize also the importance of paying attention to a vital region in the state that has received far less resources than are required to carry out effective campaigns.

The defeat of the proposal to include a citizenship question also improves the scenario to encourage immigrant families, including their US-born social contacts, to participate. The proposed question was widely perceived in the region and the rest of the country as a factor that would result in a significant decline in 2020 Census participation.

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