Beginning this week, households in Santa Barbara County and across the nation who have not responded to the 2020 Census will receive paper questionnaires in the mail. Nearly half of the nation’s households (46.2 percent) have already self-responded; the Santa Barbara County response rate is higher, at 48.9 percent as of April 9.
“Even during this time of social distancing, it still has never been easier to respond on your own,” said Joni Maiden, co-chair of the Santa Barbara County’s Census 2020 Complete Count Committee. “Some people may prefer to receive a paper questionnaire, which is returned by mail, but anyone can still respond online or over the phone.”
Residents can self-respond online at www.my2020census.gov or by calling toll free at 844-330-2020. Web pages and guides are available in 59 non-English languages, including American Sign Language, as well as guides in braille and large print.
The tentative plan, depending on local and state health officer orders, is for census workers to begin home visits to non-responding households on May 28.
The committee is committed to counting all Santa Barbara County residents. Given the current COVID-19 restrictions, the local Complete Count Committee is exploring new ways to reach Hard to Count populations in the county, which may include the use of phone banks or text messaging.
Hard to Count populations are defined by the U.S. Census as low-income individuals, non-English speakers, the homeless, and people who don’t live in traditional housing, among others.
“Small children are also on that list, and they are among the populations that benefit most from an accurate count, in the form of public programs and education,” said Maiden. “For each individual uncounted, federal funding for the county goes down by $2,000 per year for 10 years.
“An undercount of just 5 percent equals a loss of $430 million over the next decade.”
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.
For information, visit www.SantaBarbaraCountyCensus.org, follow Santa Barbara County Census on Twitter and Facebook @CensusSBC, or e-mail CensusSBC@countyofsb.org.
Local Census Response Rates by City. The census self-response online tracker is at https://2020census.gov/en/response-rates. Response rates in Santa Barbara County as of April 9:
Santa Barbara County (48.9%)
Santa Barbara (50.5%)
Santa Maria (43.6%)
The Santa Barbara County Census 2020 Complete Count Committee has launched a local outreach campaign, We all Count. Todos Contamos, to provide the public access to local resources and information about the census in English and Spanish. It is comprised of tribal, city, county and state governments, community-based organizations, and education.