Middleton: The 2020 Census is Here – Stand Up, Be Counted

As we work to keep our families and communities healthy, there is something everyone in Orange County can do from home: take the 2020 Census form online or by phone.

The 2020 Census – a once-in-a-decade count of every single person living in the United States –is underway. Over the next few months, every household has the chance to fill out the simple, nine question form to ensure billions of dollars in federal funds come into and stay in our communities.

These funds go toward supporting key services for our health care, education, housing, infrastructure and other essential parts of life across Orange County.

The Census also determines the number of seats each state holds in the United States’ House of Representatives and helps with local redistricting. That means the Census directly affects national and regional political representation across the country, and our voices in Orange County.

Clearly, there is a lot at stake for us. Over the last 10 years, our county’s population has grown – and all of our neighbors, old or young, regardless of status, deserve to be counted.

That is why Charitable Ventures is proud to help spearhead participation efforts to ensure that every – yes, every – person in Orange County is counted. Our organization is known for tackling complex social issues county-wide and making a long-term impact in our communities. We are using our deep-rooted knowledge and expertise in the region to ensure those in Orange County – especially the hardest-to-count populations living here – have the information and support they need to participate in the 2020 Census.

So, who is considered Hard-to-Count?

In short, they’re communities that share characteristics or factors associated with being undercounted in past Census counts (i.e. 1990, 2000, or 2010), such as being in an area where a lot of people rent their homes or face language barriers.

In Orange County, there are nearly 600,000 individuals who don’t speak English well, and approximately 43 percent of housing is renter occupied. With only those two Hard-to-Count factors in mind alone, one can already begin to see that there is a massive population at risk of being undercounted in Orange County. Proactive outreach is essential to make sure all our neighbors are aware of the upcoming Census and know how to participate.

For that reason, Charitable Ventures has joined forces with the California Complete Count – Census 2020 campaign, formed the OC Census Community Table (now nearly 400 members strong), and deployed funding and technical assistance to 75 community-based organizations, all in an effort to let our residents know about the Census and how to participate. We are using grassroots outreach tactics to educate individuals about the 2020 Census, and how easy it is to be counted.

This is the first Census that everyone will be able to participate in by simply filling out the nine-question questionnaire at www.my2020census.gov or by phone at 844-330-2020 (a list of in-language options is available here). That means it’s easier than ever to participate without ever leaving the house, particularly as we’re trying to keep our families and communities healthy.

Don’t forget – your responses to the Census are protected by law and cannot be shared with, or used by, any other government agencies. Answers cannot be used for law enforcement purposes or to determine eligibility for government benefits or immigration enforcement.

These are unprecedented times. As Charitable Ventures continues our 2020 Census outreach, we ask that people join us in spreading the word about the upcoming Census. Together, let’s make sure those from our communities know that the Census is here and our participation matters.

Together, we can make a difference. Together, we can count everyone.

 For more information on the Census in Orange County, please visit www.occensus.org or get social with us: Facebook @OCCensus and Twitter @OCCensus2020.

 

Sarah Middleton is President and CEO of Mission Up, a social change consulting firm that works alongside companies, nonprofits and movements.

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