The first day of April marked Census Day, when the government began to tally the 2020 population, and it’s time once again for Californians to step forth and be counted, for themselves and their communities.
This time, Census Day has come during an unprecedented time of crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The US Census Bureau has fortunately taken steps to work around the pandemic’s impact, but it doesn’t lessen the importance of families and individuals to participate.
The census is used to both give a picture of the demographics of community, and determine how billions of dollars in federal funding are distributed.
“It’s about power, it’s about money, and it’s about data,” says Ditas Katague, director of the California Complete Count Census 2020 office.
“Every day we see lots of data and statistics being talked about,” he said. “It’s important for us to understand how the census fits in with that. The power portion is really about having representation, having a voice, and being able to be heard. Especially now these days, we want to make sure that Washington knows that we’re here, and that our communities count, and we’re going to be standing up for what we deserve and what we want to be represented and how we want to be represented, and we want to make sure that those dollars come back to our community.”
This is the first time the Census Bureau is conducting the count in a truly digital manner. While previously submitted primarily by mail, the Census Bureau has set up an online self-response tool at https://my2020census.gov/, allowing households to report via an online form. Households can still report via telephone, and mail-in paper forms will also be available.
Households that do not complete the census by May will receive a visit by an Enumerator, who can be identified by a photo identification from the Census Bureau, bag, and computer device used to administer the census. Census enumerators will never ask for citizenship information or sensitive personal information of any kind, nor will they ask for any form of payment.
The core message of the California Complete Count Campaign is that participating in the census is safe and secure for all Californians. The data provided to the census is protected by Title 13, and no one can gain access to any private information provided.
“As in the past, there has been distrust of government institutions, but I think even more so this time around, the fear and distrust of government institution is a lot greater,” Katague said. “There is no citizenship question on this form.”
Information reported via the census is safe and will never be reported to landlords or ICE. Katague assures that not even the President can access your information.
The Census Bureau has delayed some of their operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Households looking to file their census information by phone should expect longer wait times due to call centers having fewer staff members to comply with stay-at-home orders.
In response to complications from COVID-19, the deadline this year to complete the count has been extended to Aug. 15, which officials say is ample time to collect the information.
To complete the Census online, visit https://my2020census.gov/. Forms are available in multiple languages including Spanish, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Tagalog, and others.
How to contact the US Census
If you have questions about the census count, or want to report your status and are more comfortable in another language besides English, use these phone numbers.
English (844) 330-2020
Spanish (844) 468-2020
Chinese (Mandarin) (844) 391-2020
Chinese (Cantonese) (844) 398-2020
Vietnamese (844) 461-2020
Korean (844) 392-2020
Russian (844) 417-2020
Arabic (844) 416-2020
Tagalog (844) 478-2020
Polish (844) 479-2020
French (844) 494-2020
Haitian Creole (844) 477-2020
Portuguese (844) 474-2020
Japanese (844) 460-2020