CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) — It’s a United States census year and so far, census numbers are not where they should be for San Diego, so Chula Vista leaders held a “week of action” to try to increase numbers.
San Diego County has reported a 67.7% response rate compared to 68% in 2010. The goal is to surpass the 2010 numbers and hit 70% this year.
Angelica Davis with the City of Chula Vista said they had planned many outreach events to connect with the community, but coronavirus has made that difficult, so they’ve had to find new ways to encourage people to fill out the census in a safe way.
The final day of the week, residents could attend a drive-through event where the first 50 cars got whole pizzas and everyone was entered to win prizes and bikes. Anyone who came had access to translators, technology, and people who could answer questions.
Davis said these resources are crucial in the Chula Vista community, especially with a push this year for 80% of participants to do the census online.
“Not everybody has access to wireless or devices to be able to do it online,” she said.
She also said many people in the Chula Vista community are worried about how their information will be used. Of the nine questions on the census, none of them ask about citizenship status and all responses remain private.
“The information that gets obtained by the census cannot be taken by other reporting agencies, it’s all confidential,” said Davis.
Davis said another problem is that people don’t realize what the census does, so they don’t bother to do it.
”We’ve actually had people ask well what is the census, and I don’t think they make that connection that with that data, they determine where the funding is needed, where it needs to go,”
The more people who live in a community, the more funding they’ll get, and that funding goes toward resources like rental assistance and food programs, which she said have all been needed the past few months with coronavirus.
The U.S. Census Bureau is scheduled to start door knocks to encourage census participation in August. You can complete the census online, by phone or by mail.