MONTEREY COUNTY — The citizenship question on the 2020 Census has been on the national stage. Despite the June 27 Supreme Court ruling to exclude it, the specter of including the citizenship question is still expected to suppress participation within immigrant communities.
This has vital implications for Monterey County residents. Monterey County has one of the highest hard-to-count populations in California: of the population of 437,907, 35 percent or 151,262 people live in hard-to-count areas.
Hard-to-count populations like those in Monterey County represent some of the most vulnerable, including low-income communities, immigrants, indigenous communities, the homeless, people of color and children ages 0 to 5. For each person not counted, more than $2,000 per person in federal aid in Monterey County will be lost annually, or $20,000 per person over 10 years until the next census.
Locally, the 2020 Census Complete Count Committee for Monterey County has been meeting and planning since October 2018 to engage Monterey County residents for a fair and complete count. The committee is comprised of representatives from the County of Monterey, cities, nonprofits and grass roots leaders and is open to all.
To help outreach and education efforts, the Community Foundation for Monterey County (CFMC) established the Census 2020 Fund. There is $45,000 available to grant in an initial round of funding, with more than $200,000 from the State of California to follow.
The initial round of funding was made possible by Sunlight Giving and the Siembra Latinos Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County.
“Not counting someone doesn’t mean they’re not here. Loss of funding because of undercounting means California and Monterey County won’t have resources to implement programs for the full complement of people in need,” said Dan Baldwin, CFMC president/CEO. “This is not a political issue. The issue is being counted, one and all, and making sure Monterey County has the resources it needs to serve its residents.”
The United States census is conducted every 10 years in accordance with the U.S. Constitution. The goal is to count every single person living in the entire country. A complete count is essential to many aspects of life, from the allocation of millions of dollars in federal funds to Monterey County for schools, roads, housing, health services, to political representation at all levels of government and economic development impact for the region.
For the first time ever, most questionnaires will be collected online, making it difficult for households that lack digital access to participate. Nine percent of Monterey County’s households have either no internet access or dial up-only. If just 1 percent of California residents are not counted, California will lose more than $770 million in annual federal funding.
For questions about the Census 2020 Fund, contact Erika Matadamas, CFMC program officer, at 831-375-9712 or email [email protected]