Officials Encourage County Residents to Participate in the Census

More than 100 individuals from community organizations and government agencies joined Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis on Thursday in Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to not include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a victory. In these troubling times, too many families live in fear, and many of them would not have participated in the census if they were forced to answer this instrusive question,” said Supervisor Solis, who led a Countywide Census rally in April to encourage residents to participate in the decennial count. “Los Angeles County is determined to count each of its residents.”

In April 2018, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted to pursue legal action to block the addition of the citizenship question, which resulted in an amicus brief in the case, Department of Commerce v. New York. Earlier this year, the State of California awarded L.A. County $9.4 million for a 2020 Census outreach campaign to make certain hardest-to-reach areas are counted. Home to 3.5 million immigrants, L.A. County is this nation’s hardest-to-count county and could lose $1,000 for each person left uncounted. The County already faces significant challenges reaching non-English-speakers, renters, children, and other hard-to-survey populations.

At today’s rally, local residents and County officials vowed to work closely with municipal and community partners to ensure that hard-to-count populations are included. The federal government relies on census data for the allocation of funding to 320 federal programs that serve our most vulnerable residents. For instance, Medicaid, federal direct student loans, and supplemental nutrition programs for women, infants, and children all rely on census data for federal funding.

“For every person not counted, L.A. County would receive fewer federal dollars to fund our local schools, vital infrastructure projects, and health care programs for children from low-income households,” Supervisor Solis added. “We strongly encourage all people residing in L.A. County to participate in the 2020 Census and help ensure the County receives its fair share of federal funds and political representation.”

The 2020 Census is the first census that will be conducted primarily electronically, creating an additional barrier for low-income families and communities of color. Adding a citizenship question to an already lengthy questionnaire would have discouraged responses, especially among immigrant communities. Even scientists at the U.S. Census Bureau have publicly acknowledged that a citizenship question would have depressed responses by 5.8% and would have given the nation an incomplete census count.