Rep. Aguilar Hosts 2020 Census Solutions Workshop
The event held in San Bernardino hosted representatives from dozens of local organizations involved in the census.
Dr. Karthick Ramakrishnan is a professor of public policy and political science at the University of California, Riverside and director of the Inland Empire Census Complete Count Committee.
He says the Inland Empire is considered “hard to count” by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Ramakrishnan: “Our region is particularly challenging because we have a lot of populations, including young populations, immigrant populations, that tend to be more skeptical of the government, especially the federal government, right now. So that's part of the reason. Another major reason why we're hard to count is we are a geographically spread-out region. So we have some of the same populations that the county of LA has, we just have a much wider territory where that population is spread out. Thankfully, we have a fair amount of resources coming down from the state and also from philanthropy to do that outreach, and that's what we're hopeful, that all of the amazing that's going into census outreach will serve us really well in terms of the planning that we need for this region for the next decade. To have government actors, businesses, philanthropy, nonprofits, academia, all of us are united and it's really an incredible thing to see. If you have kids, you know the kind of funding for your schools. the kind of funding for fire departments, public safety, roads - all of these funding decisions, down to your house, and your neighborhood, depend on filling out the census. So it's absolutely essential for everyone to participate.”
Representative Aguilar was also at the event, and had this to say about how his office is ensuring the Inland Empire isn’t undercounted in 2020.
Aguilar: “Well I think opportunities like this where we can pull community organizations together and continue to get the word out about the census. Right now, this is the big planning period and obviously April is when this starts, but pulling people together, getting information, making sure your city and your county and Karthick and the group and Inland Empire Community Foundation has been incredibly helpful as has been the state of California. Putting their dollars where it matters, and so ensuring that everybody is counted is the priority, but right now, pulling community organizations together and letting them know this is going to happen in their backyard is the most important thing we can do.”
According to Aguilar, the most important thing for people to know is simply that they should participate in the census.
Aguilar: “I think the main takeaway we want people to know is the census is coming, later this spring. You may not get as many door-knocks as you did in the past. Please, please work with us, fill out the questionnaires, call the phone numbers, go to the websites, trust your community organizations, and fill out this information. The Inland Empire funding for the next ten years and beyond is tied directly to how many people we can count and how accurate our count is, so that puts the premium on getting this done right.”
You can learn more about the 2020 census at 2020census.gov, and you can learn more about the Inland Empire Complete Count Committee at iecounts.org.