VENTURA, Calif. – Ventura County is in the top two percent of counties nationwide which have been identified as critically at-risk for an undercount in the upcoming 2020 Census. An undercount can have an enormous negative effect on residents in the county because the data collected by the census is used to distribute billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities. The census also determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. An effective outreach program is essential to a successful count.
For these reasons, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, September 17th, approved contributing $500,000 towards 2020 Census outreach efforts by the Ventura County Community Foundation (VCCF) in addition to funding in-kind census efforts for a combined total of more than $1.46 Million in support of a complete count on the 2020 census.
“Local governments receive about $2,000 in federal program funding every year for each person counted in the census. An undercount directly affects more than 70 federal programs that benefit California and Ventura County, including education, health and human services.”, said Board Chair, Steve Bennett. “It is critically important that we work to inform the public on the importance of the census for the well-being of our communities.”
About 16 percent of the county’s population live in neighborhoods that have been formally designated as Hard-To-Count (HTC). Additionally, 25 percent of the county’s residents live in census blocks ranked among the least likely to respond.
“Educating the public on the importance of a complete count is critical to the County’s future,” said County Executive Officer, Mike Powers. “We are tasked with educating everyone about the country’s first online census, but we must make a special effort to reach out to the Hard-To-Count communities in our county. These include non-English speakers, seniors, students, military personnel and our homeless population.”
The County is already engaging in outreach efforts, having recently disseminated Census information at several venues and events including the Ventura County Fair, the Camarillo Airshow, Animal Services’ Clear the Shelter event, the kick-off event for its Farmworker Resource Program and the Fiestas Patrias Parade. The County is also placing multi-lingual census informational inserts into approximately 265,000 soon-to-be mailed property tax bills. As the April 2020 count approaches, the County, joined by several cities, will be further employing a diverse range of outreach methods to reach the greatest number of people possible prior to the Census. These will include materials in English, Spanish and Tagalog; radio spots; advertisements; direct mail; signs; electronic kiosks; social media; and more.