As Santa Barbara County remains under a stay-at-home order, U.S. Census efforts persist and the city of Goleta leads the county with the highest response rate so far, with 45 percent of households already completing the questionnaire.
Solvang had the next-highest response rate, with 41.9 percent so far. Buellton reported 41.5 percent of households responding, Santa Barbara had 39.5 percent, Lompoc had 37.5 percent, Carpinteria was at 36.4 percent, Santa Maria was at 32.7 percent, and Guadalupe was at 29.3 percent, county spokeswoman Gina DePinto said.
As of Tuesday, only 40.3 percent of county residents responded overall, according to the county.
Responding to the Census is required by law, but only 65.5 percent of county residents responded in 2010.
Within Santa Barbara County, each person uncounted results in a reduction of $2,000 per year for 10 years in federal funding.
“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, in a statement Wednesday.
“Right now, public health experts are using aggregate census data to respond to the pandemic. An accurate 2020 Census count will help them prepare for future disasters, health or otherwise, and disease outbreaks.”
April 1, marked as National Census Day, typically sees the county hold a number of events aimed at bringing public awareness to the census. However, after Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order on March 18, local events were canceled.
National Census Day is not the deadline to respond, but is the reference point for residents entering information about where they live — they should enter information that is accurate as of April 1.
By law, personal information included in the census is confidential and cannot be shared.
The census will be mailing paper questionnaires to those who have not responded beginning April 8, and home visits for households which have still not responded are scheduled to begin in late May.
Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the deadline to submit census responses has been extended to August 14.