"It is critical that we have an accurate and complete count of everyone living in San Francisco during the 2020 Census," said Mayor Breed. "The Census impacts our economic and political future and helps make sure we get our fair share of federal dollars, which helps us support our community and provide everything from housing and health care, to senior centers, schools, and meal programs."
"The Census is a pillar of our democracy, enshrined in our Constitution to ensure that all people are equally counted and represented," said Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "Ensuring a fair and accurate count is essential to protecting vulnerable and traditionally undercounted communities who are often marginalized and most in need. With the launch of SF Counts, we are working to make sure that the 2020 Census captures the full beauty and diversity that makes our city strong and vibrant, and guarantees that San Francisco receives the resources and representation it deserves."
"We know that our immigrant families, homeless population, and low income communities are amongst the hardest to count," said Assessor Carmen Chu. "Let's make sure we're not short-changed. Remember, for every person we miss we lose $2,000 per year for the next ten years!"
"The 2020 Census will have a significant impact on San Francisco's budget for key priorities and how San Francisco is represented in federal and state government," said City Administrator Naomi M. Kelly. "We've invested in nonprofit community partners to ensure that every San Franciscan is counted and that our City gets the resources we need to address the critical challenges we face."
"We are honored to partner with an amazing network of community, labor, arts and faith based partners to bring the 2020 Census to the people," said Adrienne Pon, Executive Director, Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs and SF Counts. "Every person matters and has the right to participate."
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Every ten years, the United States conducts a census, with the goal of counting every person living in the United States once and in the right place. The official 2020 Census Day is April 1st. In mid-March, households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail with information about how to respond to the 2020 Census. Generally, respondents can complete the census online, by phone, or by mail.
The data from the census is used in a variety of ways, from the federal to the local level. The results of the census are used to reapportion the House of Representatives, determining how many seats each state gets. After each census, state officials redraw the boundaries of the congressional and state legislative districts in their states to account for population shifts. The distribution of federal funds is informed by the results of the census. For each person counted in San Francisco, $2,000 will go back into the community each year over the next ten years for programs and services like childcare and senior centers, nutrition and meals programs, schools, libraries, hospitals, transportation, and other social services.
SF Counts is the City's coordinated grassroots effort to ensure that every person in San Francisco is included and accurately counted in the 2020 Census with the help of broad network of community, arts, civic, labor, education, government, and faith-based organizations.
Led by the City Administrator's Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs (OCEIA), the SF Counts campaign is a multilingual, multicultural outreach and education campaign to inform and motivate San Francisco residents to complete the census. SF Counts partners include the San Francisco 2020 Census Complete Count Committee, arts coalition leader Art+Action, hundreds of community non-profit organizations, and elected officials and City agencies. Together, SF Counts partners are working to reach every part of the City, remove barriers to participation, and motivate residents to complete the census online beginning in March. With an investment of $2.5 million from the City's General Fund and a grant from the State of California, the SF Counts campaign will bring the 2020 Census to San Francisco for the largest mass mobilization effort in a decade.
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There are many challenges to a complete 2020 Census count. This year will be the first all-digital census since the census was first conducted in 1790. While this may make it easier for some to complete the census, many people lack access to the internet or smart phones to complete the census. In addition, there has always been a historic undercount of children, people living in unconventional dwellings or experiencing homelessness, low-income areas, communities of color, immigrants, and people who do not speak English as a primary language. SF Counts has strategies in place to ensure these "hard to count" populations are included in the census and has a plan to assist people who may not be able to complete the census online.
Although there will not be a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, the Trump Administration's efforts to add one left many people feeling distrustful of the census process.
However, it is against the law for the Census Bureau to release responses in any way that could identify participants and their households. By law, responses cannot be used against participants and can only be used to produce statistics.
"An accurate census count is crucial to upholding our democracy and ensuring all communities get resources they need," said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco). "Census participation benefits our local neighborhoods, makes our democracy stronger, and cannot be used for immigration or law enforcement purposes. I encourage all Californians to get counted."
"San Francisco is a city that cares for all its residents," said Mario Paz, Executive Director, Good Samaritan Family Resource Center. "We understand what is at stake in the 2020 Census. Please join us as—together—we stand to be counted."
"San Francisco was the only county in the State that achieved a total count for the 2010 Census," said Anni Chung, President and CEP of Self Help for the Elderly. "All of us on the San Francisco Complete Count Committee will be working closely with OCEIA to ensure everyone is counted in San Francisco for the 2020 Census."
SF Counts is currently hiring staff who will help make sure everyone in San Francisco is counted. If you are interested in applying to work for SF Counts, please visit: sf.gov/get-census-job.
For more information about the Census and SF Counts, please visit: www.sfcounts.org or sf.gov/departments/office-civic-engagement-and-immigrant-affairs/census-2020
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