For Immediate ReleaseSeptember 17, 2020
Accurate count determines federal funding, representation for local residents
San Rafael, CA – During the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic repercussions of the virus, more Marin County residents find themselves in need of public assistance. One way to make sure funds are available from those increasingly important sources is to fill out the 2020 U.S. Census. An accurate count of the local population has direct ties to the federal support available to the residents most in need.
The census is a once-a-decade population count of everyone living in the United States. Results determine how many dollars are devoted to school lunches, Medicaid, CalFresh food assistance, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and many other programs. Undercounting on the census not only leads to less money for those programs but can lead to the loss of a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Local census workers, called enumerators, are actively working in Marin’s neighborhoods now and may knock on doors to log census responses and verify addresses, even if a resident has already responded. Enumerators are following physical distance guidelines and face covering protocols to ensure safety and are easily identifiable by wearing the census logo and an identification badge. Residents can also self-respond to the census at my2020census.gov.
Marin residents have faced a handful of recent challenges that may have prevented them from taking a few minutes to fill out the census form including COVID-19, economic hardship and the uncertainty of income related to the pandemic, wildfire evacuations, wildfire smoke, and power outages.
To date, Marin residents have done an admirable job responding to the census. Marin’s response rate through September 10 was 75.3%, compared to the California rate of 68.1% and the national rate of 65.7%, according to the Marin County Community Development Agency, which surpasses Marin’s 72.1% response rate from the 2010 census. Anyone may check the response rates online.
The County is most eager to make sure residents from historically undercounted communities are included. Thus far, the local response has been slowest in parts of rural West Marin. The census tract that includes Bolinas had a response rate of just 35.5% as of September 10. The tract that includes Point Reyes Station, Tomales, Dillon Beach, Marshall, and Nicasio had a rate 42.5%, the Olema/Inverness tract was at 42.0%, and the Muir Beach tract was at 66.3%.
The official U.S. government headcount was labeled as the “first digital census” whereby households had the option of responding online, by mail, or by phone and will end on September 30. In addition to the online option, the census can be done by phone in English (844-330-2020) or Spanish (844-468-2020). A new North Bay census questionnaire assistance phone number has been set up as well at 707-757-6504 to help answer questions about completing the census. Respondents are to include everyone living in a household, whether they are related or not.
Most questions about the local census efforts are answered on MarinCensus2020.org and www.census.gov.
Kristin DrummSenior PlannerCommunity Development Agency
3501 Civic Center DriveSuite 318San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-6290Email: Kristin DrummCommunity Development website