A group of Los Angeles City Council members Tuesday called for a comprehensive outreach and education plan for the 2020 Census to target chronically undercounted communities in the city.
Council members Monica Rodriguez, Nury Martinez, Gil Cedillo, Jose Huizar, and Curren Price introduced a motion which said Los Angeles is home to the largest hard-to-count population in the nation, and an undercount can cost the city millions of dollars.
“Communities like mine have been historically undercounted — in the 2010 Census, neighborhoods in the Northeast San Fernando Valley scored among the highest in low census participation. Further, the transition to the online survey and the proposed immigration question will further inhibit low income communities from being tallied in the Census,” Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez said. “We must correct this failure to ensure that we get the public safety resources we deserve and that all Angelenos are counted in 2020.”
The motion says that minority communities in Los Angeles have been undercounted in previous censuses due to their high concentration of renters, socioeconomic status, limited English proficiency and immigration status issues.
The motion also stated that the proposed addition of a question regarding citizenship status has the potential to discourage the participation of minority communities, and the reliance on electronic submittal could make participation difficult for communities without reliable access to computers or the internet.
“This puts the lives of our most underserved residents on the line, because they are the ones who are constantly receiving the short end of the stick when it comes to receiving access to government representation, investment in education and community development. If we are undercounted our kids don’t get their fair share, and we lose access to our most crucial resources,” Councilwoman Nury Martinez said.
The motion requests the Mayor’s Office Census 2020 Initiative to report to the City Council with a funding plan for door-to-door outreach and education efforts in chronically undercounted areas and, if necessary, a report on what additional funding the city needs to provide to ensure a comprehensive outreach effort.
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