With just 30 days left to respond to the 2020 Census, the California Complete Count – Census 2020 Office (Census Office) announced targeted outreach to motivate and activate Californians to fill out the form.
As the deadline to respond to the Census has been adjusted to September 30 by the U.S. Census Bureau, California has deployed on the ground unconventional tactics to get low responding tracts to take action.
“Time is running out to make an impact on the funding for the next 10 years for your community! Take a few minutes to complete the Census – it’s safe, secure and drives critical dollars into education and health care programs,” said Ditas Katague, Director of the California Complete Count – Census 2020 Office. “Everyone counts in the Census, regardless of background or immigration status. You have 30 days to make a difference.”
Some important points, as of August 30, 2020:
Over 10.2 million California households have responded to the Census – the most of any state.
- California has had most households respond to the Census compared to other states. Of those 10.2 million, nearly 2.4 million are located in the hardest-to-count Census tracts.
- California’s current self-response rate 67.2% is above the national average of 64.9% and it exceeds that of other large states, such as Florida (61.6%), New York (61%) and Texas (60.3%).
- The difference between the California SRR and the national SRR has almost doubled since late July. It’s not just that everyone is growing, it’s that California’s SRR is growing faster. This means the strategy to go local and regional truly moved California households to complete the form.
- And as a reminder, in 2010, California’s final 2010 self-response rate of 68.2%. We are just 1% away from our 2010 rate, which is about 150,000 households. The U.S. final 2010 self-response rate was 66.5 percent.
If you’d like to follow along with self-response rates, please visit census.ca.gov and click on California Self Response Rate Map so you can look at how specific areas in California are performing.
Phone/Text Banking Efforts
In order to do one last push to ask all Californians to respond to the Census, the California Complete Count – Census 2020 Office has narrowed its focus to work on identifying more than 2000 Census tracts that have self-response challenges.
The Office also realized it was essential to reach out to California households that are having self-response challenges through a phone banking effort.
Based on previous partner work, patching callers through to the USCB hotline directly is one of the most effective ways to get results.
With around $2 million, the goal is to reach 1.1 million households through this effort, with follow up texts to those to see if they responded in earnest, in more than 1100 tracts.
In the last 12 days, of households that were undecided about completing the Census, phone bankers were able to educate and activate 66.8% households to be patched through directly to the USCB. There are over 60 staff currently working on this project, with more expected to join to reach low responding tracts, with more being recruited.
Targeted Low Response Tracts
On top of that, the Census Office also looked at the harder to count tracts and saw whether there were low self-response rates.
Based on that data assessment, the Office prioritized 955 tracts.
In the last months of the campaign, the campaign has disbursed approximately $8 million dollars to partners to do targeted outreach to Californians on the ground within 955 tracts, which are also in 21 counties.
Those counties include:
- Butte, Sacramento, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Monterey, Santa Barbara, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Tulare, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange, Imperial and San Diego
Partners are using specific tactics to get neighborhoods to respond to the Census, from phone banking, text banking, caravans, door knocking and providing Census information at essential services.
In-Person Census Work
The U.S. Census Bureau began counting non-responders by sending Census takers into neighborhoods to go door-to-door and tally residents. Known as, Non-Response Follow-Up (NRFU), this operation started on August 11.
- Census workers will follow all local public health guidelines, are trained to wear a mask and will conduct all interviews from outside the home.
- Visits will take place between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., including on weekends when people are most likely to be home.
- They can help assist Californians to fill out the form or answer any questions
- If the Census worker who knocks on the door doesn’t speak and doesn’t speak that person’s language, they can request a return visit from one who does.
For more information about the U.S. Census Bureau’s NRFU operation, including how to identify an official Census taker, please click here.
The campaign continues to remind all Californians that they can respond to the Census online at https://my2020census.gov, by phone at 844-330-2020 (a list of in-language options is available here), or by mail if they received a paper form.
This article was released by the California Complete Count – Census 2020 Office.