Valley News -

By City News Service
Special to Anza Valley Outlook 

County commits to assisting in pro-census campaign

 

Last updated 1/24/2019 at 11:11pm



Riverside County supervisors approved county agencies’ participation in a regional committee focused on multi-platform campaigns that emphasize the importance of everyone taking part in the 2020 census.

University of California Riverside’s Center for Social Innovation is taking the lead in creating the “Inland Empire Complete Count Committee,” which seeks to combine the resources of government agencies, faith-based organizations, media outlets, business organizations, healthcare professionals and other stakeholders in promoting participation in the decennial headcount.

The board of supervisors passed a resolution announcing the county’s planned involvement in a 5-0 vote without comment.

“The 2020 census will have a direct impact on the residents and businesses of Riverside County,” according to an Executive Office statement. “The results of the census provide the basis for the re-apportioning of congressional seats, redistricting of the county’s supervisorial boundaries and distribution of more than $76 million in federal funds to support California’s vital programs, which include housing, education, transportation, employment, healthcare and public policy.”

The committee’s makeup has yet to be ironed out, but according to documents posted to the board’s agenda, the goal will be to have representatives from the western and eastern county areas, as well as all of San Bernardino County and the tribal governments.

Organizers are hoping that community and faith-based groups, along with chambers of commerce and healthcare industry professionals, will lend their expertise and take part in distributing information.

“Complete Count Committees are comprised of a broad spectrum of government and community leaders,” the Executive Office said. “These trusted voices develop and implement a 2020 census awareness campaign based upon their knowledge of the local community to encourage a response.”

According to officials, online public service announcements, postings in key places and use of traditional media will be part of outreach efforts, beginning later this year.

The California Government Operations Agency announced in November that up to $1.2 million could be available to Riverside County to promote census participation.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, field canvassing to confirm addresses and ensure the accuracy of prior census lists is already underway. Census questionnaires will be going out to tens of millions of households nationwide in the first half of 2020.

The goal is to have a complete census submitted to the president by Dec. 31, 2020.

Federal officials expressed concern in the agency’s 2020 Operational Plan about lower response rates in the 2010 census compared to 2000, fearing the trend may worsen.

“The Census Bureau wants to make it easy for people to respond anytime and anywhere,” according to an agency statement. “To this end, the 2020 census will offer the opportunity and encourage people to respond via the

internet.”

To motivate census participation in 2010, the Riverside County Complete Count Committee offered residents the opportunity to enter raffles with cash prizes – as long as they filled out their questionnaires.

The census, which is constitutionally mandated every 10 years, led to reconfiguration of each of the county’s five supervisorial districts in 2011.

 

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