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May 2018 News

State Census Convenings Announced

California’s 2020 census drive is gearing up, with 24 community convenings taking place across the state over the next four months. The Weingart Foundation encourages nonprofits to attend a convening in your area in order to learn how your organization can help ensure a fair and accurate count. The census is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to expand fairness and inclusion by directing federal funding to where it is needed most. Census data guides the distribution of over $600 billion in federal dollars each year, determines the number of congressional seats allocated to states, and is used to enforce civil rights laws.

California faces significant challenges, however, that could lead to an undercount in 2020 and a loss of federal funds critical to the well-being of many families and children. Nearly one in four Californians live in “hard to count” census tracts that include poor people, people of color, non-English speakers, immigrants, and young children. In addition, this is the first time that census forms will be primarily online, which could exclude millions of households that don’t have access to or familiarity with the internet. Finally, the administration has added a new census question about citizenship that—unless it is removed—is likely to have a chilling effect on participation among immigrant communities.

The state’s census convenings will bring together local leaders in historically undercounted areas to get informed, connect with others and start strategizing on outreach. Feedback from the convenings will also inform the state’s strategy moving into 2020. To find a census event in your area, go to the California Census website.