(San Francisco) – The United States Census Bureau will begin mailing invitations to every household this month, asking residents to fill out the upcoming 2020 census questionnaire. Once a decade, the federal government attempts to count the population by collecting demographic data, such as gender, age, race and city of residency. The information is then used to determine how much federal funding and how many representatives in Congress each state gets. Currently, California has 53 Congressional seats and receives more than $170 billion a year from Washington D.C. that’s tied to population.
1.6 million Filipinos live in California, and this community historically has been one of the hardest to count – mostly because of a language barrier and fear their immigration status will be reported. But there will NOT be a citizenship question on the 2020 census form because federal judges barred it. When fewer forms are returned, an undercount results, negatively impacting our state.
“As April 1, Census Day, approaches, I want to assure everyone that the answers they provide on the census survey are confidential and cannot be shared with authorities,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), whose district includes Daly City, home to the highest percentage of Filipino residents in California. “If we want to continue having a voice and federal funding for schools, healthcare, transportation and other vital services, we must have an accurate population count. That means we need everyone to participate in the census. Lahat,as they say in Tagalog.”
As Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, Ting helped secure $187 million in the state budget to ensure outreach and awareness campaigns are conducted in several languages, including Tagalog, to raise response rates among all hard-to-count communities. Daly City has been engaged in boosting participation.
“I join in Assemblymember Ting’s call to action for our community to participate in the census. Daly City is the largest city in San Mateo County. We have a growing population. It is important that the true numbers reflect our growing community. We will be missing out on funding and influence if we do not have an accurate count of our population. The census is our chance for government to recognize and identify Daly City as a place of importance that should be prioritized and valued. Don’t let this opportunity be missed. It matters to our community to stand up and be counted,” said Ray Buenaventura, Daly City Councilmember.
Residents can expect a hard copy of the 2020 census form in their mailboxes by mid-April. They can fill it out and mail it back; however, telephone and online responses are also acceptable. In fact, this is the first time the U.S. Census Bureau will rely heavily on online submissions.
If a household has not responded to the survey by the end of April, census takers will follow-up with home visits between May and July.