With billions of dollars in federal spending and a congressional seat at stake, the 2020 U.S. census is causing California to count some of its residents twice.
California has set aside $187 million—the most money of any state–to ensure high participation rates in the census.
Dr. Kristina Victor, a political science professor and California politics expert, said that participation rates for the census are changing.
“The number of people (nationwide) who have said they are going to fill out the census is lower than past census years,” said Victor.
Part of the state spending is going toward a mini-census known as California Neighborhoods Count. Canvassers will go door-to-door at about 20,000 homes in areas with low census participation.
That’s just a sliver of the state’s 13 million households, but the effort to seek out hidden homes and residents who are leery of providing personal information to federal officials is part of a larger campaign to ensure that nobody is missed.
Census Day is officially April 1, but the census officials will follow up with households who do not respond. With a large population of immigrants and other hard to count groups, officials are concerned about a population undercount–and the significant consequences that it will have.
“It takes a lot of staffing to be able to reach hard to reach populations, if the census is not well funded,” said Victor. “Without an accurate count some areas will be overrepresented and some will be underrepresented.”