County of Marin - News Releases - Census Update

For Immediate Release
July 16, 2020

Searching for Marin’s Census Holdouts

Accurate count determines federal funding, representation for local residents

San Rafael, CA – So far, Marin County residents have done an admirable  job responding to the 2020 U.S. Census, but local organizers are working to contact the final holdouts because an accurate count is critical to securing federal funding for local programs. Residents are encouraged to respond to the census online.

Two young women sit on a couch and read a U.S. Census formIf more households respond to the census through the web or mail, fewer field visits will be necessary later this summer.
Marin’s response rate through July 13 was 70.8%, well above the California rate of 63.3% and the national rate of 61.9%, according to the Marin County Community Development Agency. However, Marin’s rate is slightly behind Marin’s 71% response rate from the 2010 census.

Households that have not participated have received postcards in the mail as a reminder to participate. The County of Marin, which relies on a strong census response to assure financial assistance for its vulnerable populations, actively encourages everyone to fill out the census. Anyone may check the response rates online.

The census response deadline was extended to October 31 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and households have until mid-August to fill out a form before they become a target for the door-knocking census field operations team. Because of the pandemic, census officials are eager to reduce the need for personnel to speak with residents face to face. Field visits will continue until the October 31 national census deadline. Marin is looking to hire a few more $25-per-hour temporary workers for that team, and details are on the 2020 Census Jobs webpage.

The County is most eager to make sure residents from historically undercounted communities are counted. It entered into partnerships with several community-based organizations to support education and outreach activities among those populations.

According to data provided by the California Census Office, Marin residents least likely to fill out a census form or considered “hard to count” are those living in West Marin, Marin City, San Rafael’s Canal neighborhood and Lincoln Avenue, Terra Linda, and pockets of downtown Novato. 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 30.5% as of July 13. The tract that includes Point Reyes Station, Tomales, Dillon Beach, Marshall, and Nicasio had a rate 37.5%, the Olema/Inverness tract was at 36.0%, the Stinson Beach tract was at 30.5% and the Muir Beach tract was at 63.2%.

Census 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 lead to less money for those programs but can lead to the loss of a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The official U.S. government headcount is being labeled as the “first digital census” whereby households have the option of responding online, by mail, or by phone. The form may be filled out at It can be done by phone in English (844-330-2020) or Spanish (844-468-2020). Respondents are to include everyone living in a household, whether they are related or not.

Historically undercounted populations include racial and ethnic minorities, people who speak languages other than English, those with low internet proficiency or access to technology, children 5 and under, adults over the age of 65, young people who move frequently or have plans to move soon, and rural residents.

Most questions about the local census efforts are answered on and


Kristin Drumm
Senior Planner
Community Development Agency

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 318
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6290
Email: Kristin Drumm
Community Development website