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 apportionments 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
To ensure that everyone is counted, the Census Bureau has encouraged communities across the United States to form local Complete Count Committees (CCC) as a means to raise awareness.
With its Complete Count Committee (CCC), the City of West Hollywood will work to increase responsiveness in the 2020 Census utilizing local knowledge, influence, and resources to promote the census through locally based, targeted outreach efforts.
The City of West Hollywood is in the process of assembling its CCC with stakeholders from different community groups, including City residents, members of the Chamber of Commerce, non-profit organizations serving West Hollywood residents, current members of the City’s advisory boards and commissions, and more. Participation in the CCC is by invitation; all members of the community are welcome to attend CCC meetings.
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 contacting Hernan Molina, City of West Hollywood Government Affairs Liaison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned for updates about the City of West Hollywood’s Census 2020 efforts at www.weho.org/census2020.