Supervisor Hilda Solis

Los Angeles County and city elected officials took part in a “Countywide Census Call to Action” this week to stress the need for every county resident to be counted in the 2020 US Census.

The county and city of LA have been deemed the hardest places to count in the nation, leading the State of California Complete County Census 2020 Office to award the county a $9.4 million grant to support public outreach programs to support a more accurate count.

“We stand to lose about $2,000 for each person we neglect to count. If we undercount the County’s population by a million people, we could lose $20 billion over the course of a decade,” said Supervisor Hilda Solis, who was joined by Mayor Eric Garcetti, LAUSD officials, and nonprofit organization representatives.

“Freeway projects could be jeopardized, workforce development programs could be affected, and school programs could be cut,” Solis said. “LA County will rise to the challenge to make sure that everyone is counted in the 2020 Census.”

The 2020 Census will launch a year from April 1, 2019, the date LA County will observe its Census Call to Action. It will also be the first census that will be done primarily electronically, creating an additional barrier for low-income families and communities of color.

Los Angeles County is the hardest-to-count county in the country, and the City of Los Angeles is the hardest-to-count city in the County. The State of California Complete Count Census 2020 Office has awarded LA County a $9.4 million grant to support public outreach programs in the 88 cities throughout the county so that community-based organizations and local governments can more accurately tally hard-to-count populations for the U.S. Census.

Hard-to-count populations include individuals who have limited access to the Internet, are renters or are experiencing homelessness, may not participate in the U.S. Census due to a language barrier, or harbor a fear of reprisal by the federal government.

“I am concerned that the effort to add a citizenship question may discourage responses, especially among immigrant communities,” Solis said. “Today was a clear demonstration that LA County will work with our municipal and community partners to support our vulnerable communities. We embrace LA County’s diversity and we will make every effort to count every resident.

“An accurate census count is not only foundational to representative democracy, but it ensures that schools and communities throughout LA County receive their fair share of federal funding. The federal government must not leave our vulnerable communities underfunded and underrepresented. Everyone counts!”

The decennial census is mandated by the US Constitution and is used to determine political representation and to allocate hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding to states and local jurisdictions.