The City of West Hollywood’s Census 2020 Initiative
The next census will take place on April 1, 2020. The United States Constitution mandates that a complete population count be conducted every 10 years.
The City of West Hollywood plays an active role in mobilizing community members to take part in the census and educates local residents and stakeholders about the need to participate in the census and return the questionnaire.
The census is a large and logistically complex undertaking. It provides critical data that helps the City of West Hollywood run effectively and helps ensure that West Hollywood receives a fair share of federal funding and investments. In addition, the census count determines apportionment among the states for the U.S. House of Representatives.
The City of West Hollywood has consistently supported legislation that requires the Census Bureau to count every person living in the United States, independent of their immigration or citizenship status.
The Importance of a Complete Census Count
Census staff projects that certain West Hollywood census tracts may have a moderately low response rate. This is based on data from the 2010 Census and from regular surveys.
Federal funding to states, generally speaking, is determined based on population counts. Improper accounting of California’s population or “undercount” may lead to reduced allocation of resources in the years ahead.
The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) in California has estimated that during the 1990 Census, California’s population was undercounted by 2.7 percent; this undercount likely resulted in California receiving at least $2 billion less in federal funds. There are, however, other impacts beyond reduced financial resources. According to the LAO, the 1990 Census’ undercount was severe enough that the State was shortchanged one Congressional seat (Legislative Analyst’s Office, 2018).
As a community of just 1.9 square miles, the City of West Hollywood is working to achieve a complete census count in Census 2020.
The City of West Hollywood’s Efforts for Census 2020
In April 2019, the City of West Hollywood begins its year-long effort to get the word out about the importance of a complete count in the City of West Hollywood, and across California. The City’s effort includes residents, community members, businesses, and more.
West Hollywood City Hall staff members from many Departments and Divisions are involved in the effort including Social Services, Strategic Initiatives, Community & Legislative Affairs, Information Technology, Rent Stabilization & Housing, Communications, and the City Clerk’s office.
West Hollywood’s Complete Count Committee
On April 15, 2019, the West Hollywood City Council approved the City’s participation in the 2020 Census and directed staff to work collaboratively with the U.S. Census and other organizations to ensure that every resident is counted. The direction from the City Council included the creation of a local Complete Count Committee (CCC).
Purpose of the CCC
The CCC will develop strategies to ensure that every resident of the City of West Hollywood is counted. This includes the development of strategies to reach every resident and community stakeholder including business owners, landlords, members of civic organizations, etc.
Make Up of the CCC
The CCC is intended to be representative of the West Hollywood community. As such, the CCC will include LGBT people, Russian-speaking individuals, persons with disabilities, renters, homeowners, members of neighborhood watch groups, staff and clients of social services organizations located and/or serving West Hollywood residents, etc. The proposed membership of the CCC will be comprised of approximately 40* members, including:
- One representative from each City Commission and Advisory Board, appointed by a majority of each commission and advisory board as the body’s representative. The City currently has 9 commissions and 6 advisory boards.
- Other members:
- One representative from the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.
- One representative from the West Hollywood Marketing and Visitors Bureau.
- One representative from Avenues of Arts & Design BID/Sunset Strip BID.
- One representative from the Los Angeles Sheriff Department (West Hollywood station).
- Up to 3 representatives from social services organizations currently contracted by the City of West Hollywood to serve residents on a wide range of issues.
- Up to 3 representatives from civic / non-profit organizations.
- Up to 3 representatives from local schools.
- Up to 3 representatives from the faith community.
- Up to 9 neighbors from different geographic areas of the City.
Becoming a member of the CCC
Individuals interested in serving on the CCC, who have not been appointed as a representative of a City commission or advisory board, or as representatives of one of the organizations listed above, may submit an application for consideration to become a member of the City’s CCC.
Individuals interested in becoming a member of the CCC must fill out an application. The application for becoming a member of the CCC can be found here.
City staff will review the application and will make a decision based on applicant meeting some of the following characteristics:
- Affiliation with the City of West Hollywood: resident of West Hollywood or involvement in City or community affairs.
- Length of personal involvement in City or community affairs.
- Past experience with community outreach.
- Membership and/or involvement, experience with community organizations that focus on serving residents of West Hollywood.
- Knowledge of and familiarity with the West Hollywood community.
Participation in the CCC is Voluntary
Members appointed to the CCC will do so on a voluntary basis and at the discretion of the City. No compensation will be provided.
Number of Meetings and Time Commitment
Staff anticipates the CCC to meet at least three (3) times before Census Day on April 1, 2020. The first meeting is expected to take place in the last quarter of 2019. A second meeting will be tentatively scheduled in late January 2020 and a third meeting in March 2020. The CCC may schedule additional meetings. Staff anticipates meetings to last about two hours.
Adherence to the City’s Code of Conduct
Members who accept an appointment to the CCC commit to adhering to the City’s Code of Conduct, as it is required and expected from members serving on the City’s advisory boards and commissions.
Get Involved! Become an Ambassador for the City’s Census 2020 Initiative
As an ambassador for the City’s Census 2020 initiative, community members will gain insight about questions that the Census will be asking citizens, the importance of participating in the Census, and the impact of the Census count on the allocation of federal resources and the apportionment of Congressional districts and seats in Congress.
Learn more about becoming a census ambassador in West Hollywood by clicking here.
Stay tuned for updates about the City of West Hollywood’s Census 2020. For additional information, please contact Hernan Molina at Census2020@weho.org