Local Census 2020 representatives urge Santa Barbara County residents to respond to the census today, April 1, which is National Census Day, especially as the community is currently sheltering in place due to the COVID-19 crisis.

“As Santa Barbara County confronts the challenges brought by COVID-19, the importance of the 2020 Census has never been more apparent,” said Joni Maiden, co-chair of the Santa Barbara County Complete Count Committee.

“Right now, public health experts are using aggregate census data to respond to the pandemic,” she said. “An accurate 2020 Census count will help them prepare for future disasters, health or otherwise, and disease outbreaks.”

“The state of emergency that we are experiencing right now only reiterates how important it is to get detailed population data for our area,” said co-chair Pedro Paz. “The number of elected representatives who will make the decisions about future emergency federal funding is also determined by the 2020 Census results.

“The census results will help our community recover and plan for the future.”

The April 1 Census Day was intended as a national day for public awareness including public events and celebrations. Local events were cancelled after Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order given on March 18.

“It’s important to note that April 1 is not a census deadline,” said Maiden. “That particular day is used as a reference point, and reflect where residents live on one particular day.”

Invitations to respond to the census were mailed to county residents beginning March 12. As of March 31, only 38 percent of the county had responded. Currently, the city of Goleta has the highest self-response rate at 45 percent; while north county averages 30 percent.

Residents can self-respond online at www.my2020census.gov, by calling 844-330-2020, or by mail. Those who have not responded will be mailed paper questionnaires beginning April 8. The current plan is for census workers to begin home visits to non-responders on May 28.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadline for response to the U.S. Census has been extended to Aug. 14. By law, the census count must be delivered to the president by Dec. 31, 2020. The Census Bureau will announce any additional adjustments should they become necessary.

Translated web pages and guides are available in 59 non-English languages, including American Sign Language, as well as guides in braille and large print.

For information, visit www.SantaBarbaraCountyCensus.org, follow Santa Barbara County Census on Twitter and Facebook @CensusSBC, or e-mail CensusSBC@countyofsb.org.

The census self-response online tracker is at https://2020census.gov/en/response-rates. Response rates in Santa Barbara County as of March 31 are as follows:

Santa Barbara County (38.1%)
Buellton (41.5%)
Carpinteria (36.4%)
Goleta (45%)
Guadalupe (29.3%)
Lompoc (37.5%)
Santa Barbara (39.5%)
Santa Maria (32.7%)
Solvang (41.9%)