Keep it up, OC.
The latest figures available on the U.S. Census website show Orange County has a higher rate of participation than California and the rest of the country. And 10 local cities have already surpassed their 2010 response rates.
As of Monday, 70.3 percent of Orange County residents had filled out their census forms, which means we rank sixth out of California’s 58 counties. The state’s overall response rate was 63.1 percent, and the national response was hovering just shy of 62 percent.
“The Census Bureau would like to extend our congratulations to the people of Orange County for their high response rate,” said Julie Lam, regional director of the U.S. Census Bureau. “Your response matters and will help your community get the accurate count it needs to secure federal funding for critical public services and political representation.”
As we’ve mentioned here before, the census is spelled out in the U.S. Constitution, which requires that every single person living in the United States be counted once per decade.
Participating is quick, easy, confidential and extremely important.
In addition to ensuring fair government representation, census data decides how billions of dollars in federal funds are distributed for health clinics, school lunch programs, disaster recovery initiatives and other vital programs and services. But officials have estimated that California will lose about $1,950 per person in annual funding as a result of undercounting.
The deadline to respond to the 2020 Census is Oct. 31, according to Jeanette Durán Pacheco, a media specialist with the Census Bureau’s Los Angeles Regional Office.
“We encourage everyone to self-respond immediately so a census worker will not visit your residence for an in-person interview,” she told the OCDE Newsroom via email. “Enumerator visits are scheduled to begin Aug. 11 and conclude no later than Oct. 31. All census-takers will be trained on social distancing protocols. They will be issued personal protective equipment and follow local guidelines for their use.”
The Census Bureau strongly encourages the public to respond at 2020census.gov, where they can find resources in English and 12 other languages. Households can also choose to participate by phone or by mail, using the paper questionnaire.
Here are the 10 cities that have already exceeded their 2010 response rates:
- Aliso Viejo, 73.6%
- Mission Viejo, 79.6%
- Los Alamitos, 74.7%
- Seal Beach, 76.0%
- Lake Forest, 75.5%
- Cypress, 79.2%
- Laguna Hills, 74.2%
- San Juan Capistrano, 75.1%
- Rancho Santa Margarita, 77.3%
- Laguna Woods, 79.3%
In addition, these two cities are expected to exceed their 2010 response rates soon:
- Yorba Linda, 79.3%
- Laguna Niguel, 72.9%
You can take a deeper dive by checking out the Census Bureau’s online response rate map, which shows rates by state, city, county and census tract.
The Orange County Department of Education has curated a batch of resources to help teachers and community leaders spread the word about this year’s Census. If you’re an educator who has shared information with families or taught lessons tied to the U.S. Census, we encourage you to take a moment to complete this brief survey outlining how you supported the 2020 count.