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Census 2020

The County of Santa Clara is committed to ensuring a complete count of everyone in our community during the upcoming 2020 Census.

 
Count Me IN 2020 Census - Everyone Counts County of Santa Clara 
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Census Day is April 1, 2020 and there will be four methods of response: online, paper, telephone and in-person enumerator visit.

 
You will receive a mail notification in mid-March from the US Census Bureau to complete the census online - and most people are planning to take it as soon as they are notified so they won't forget!​
 

Here’s Why the Census Counts:

Here’s Why the Census Counts: More Affordable Housing Counts, Stronger Schools Count, Safer Neighborhoods Count and Better HealtView enlarge image
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​Frequently Asked Questions

What is the census?

The census is mandated by Article I, Section II of the U.S. Constitution, which states:

“The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.”

Data collected in the census is used for the appropriation of over $675 billion in annual federal funding and apportionment for the House of Representatives. Census data also assists in the drawing of voting precincts, congressional and state legislative districts, and school districts. If there is an undercount in California, the state could lose a seat in Congress and receive less federal funding.​​​
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When is the census?

Census Day is April 1, 2020 although there will be opportunities to be counted starting in March 2020. You will receive a mail notification in mid-March from the US Census Bureau to complete the census online.​

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Are there any privacy protections for the information shared on the census?

Absolutely. The census is completely private. By law, the census cannot share any personal information.

The law states:
“Federal law protects [census] information; Title 13 of the U.S. Code protects the confidentiality of all collected information. Violating this law is a crime with severe penalties … In addition to removing personally identifiable information (i.e., names, telephone numbers, and addresses) from our data files, we use various approaches to protect personal information - including computer technologies, statistical methodologies, and security procedures.

Every person who works with census confidential information collected by the Census Bureau is sworn for life to uphold the law.”​

Why does this effort matter?

California has a large hard-to-count (HTC) population. HTC means that the community has historically been undercounted in the census and/or has barriers of access to the census. HTC communities include immigrants, non-English speakers or non-fluent English speakers, the LGBTQ+ community, multi-generational households, crowded households,  unhoused/unstably housed, and people with lack of access to reliable broadband.​

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What has happened thus far?

An important factor in establishing an accurate Census count is by ensuring that the Census Bureau’s address list is as complete as possible. If an address is not on the list, the Census Bureau doesn’t know to contact that household, to attempt to count it, or even that it got missed. The Census Bureau list is likely missing many Santa Clara County addresses – especially those for complex housing situations like garages, basements, or sheds – increasing the risk of an undercount, which will have major consequences towards the Census benefits of allocation of federal funding and fair representation. In order to attempt to bridge the gap of some hard-to-count populations, the County of Santa Clara participated in the Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) program, which ran from March 2 to July 14, 2018. The LUCA program resulted in 77,306 missing addresses added to the Census Bureau’s address list. These addresses were identified through visual inspection of neighborhoods through canvassing and analysis of digital images, as well as utilization of existing address databases.

In addition to LUCA, community organizations in San Jose, San Francisco, and Fresno piloted a method called community-based address canvassing, similar to some of the canvassing methods in LUCA, which received attention in the New York Times. Community volunteers and nonprofit staff walk in pairs through key neighborhoods, identify unconventional housing by looking for little signs like curtains on a basement window or an extra satellite dish, and use a simple texting app to record the address. Covering one census area takes just a few hours and can add dozens of addresses that would otherwise have gone unnoticed. No knocking on doors or asking questions of residents is required. It’s a great activity for all ages/community members who are comfortable walking and sending text messages (or cheering on your walk partner while they send text messages)​

What else is the County doing?

Everyone Counts!In Fall 2018, we convened the Santa Clara County Complete Count Committee (SC5), comprised of individuals interested in participating in 2020 Census efforts from the nonprofit, governmental, and business sectors. The SC5 was broken into ten subcommittees with a specific subject matter focus. The ten subcommittees include: Cities and Neighborhoods, Education, Enumerator Recruitment, Health, Homeless and Unstably Housed, Immigration and Language Barriers, LGBTQ+, Older Adults and Individuals with Disabilities, Technology, and Women. Over the last year, the subcommittees met to discuss how the 2020 Census could best reach their community.​

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