County approves $1M for US Census funding

Accurate population count key to access to federal dollars

Mike Wasserman

Knock, knock, Santa Clara County. The county Board of Supervisors has put up $1 million to beef up the upcoming United States Census in 2020, in an effort not only to get a better understanding of the county’s demographics but also to pump more federal dollars into the area.
The money goes into the 2018 Local Update of Census Addresses to help ensure that every household in the county is counted. It is the county’s first step to “get out the count” ahead of the 2020 census.

“Getting accurate 2020 Census numbers is critical in a county this diverse and large,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez. “Everyone has a right to be counted, so we can be fairly represented in Congress and receive the federal funding we need for housing and transportation projects.”

For the county, it’s a matter of spending money to make money. For each Californian counted, the federal government invests almost $2,000 into the state, according to county staff. Political power in Congress, which is based on population, also works to increase the state’s political power in the nation.

“The only way we can ensure that the county fairly benefits from federal funding is by making sure that everyone is counted in Census 2020,” said Supervisor Mike Wasserman, who represents the county district that includes Morgan Hill and South County. “We will have better chances of receiving funding to support essential services such as healthcare, law enforcement and transportation infrastructure that will benefit every individual and family in our community.”

The funding will go toward data gathering, canvassing, community engagement, along with other activities designed to find households that have yet to be counted for census purposes. People such as immigrants, children, single parents, low-income families, along with those who live in granny units, basements, garages and RVs will be counted. By adding these new addresses, the county hopes to give its numbers a boost ahead of 2020.

“Not only is the 2020 Census underfunded by the federal government, but the atmosphere of fear created by aggressive immigration tactics under the Trump Administration may have a chilling effect on our diverse communities responding to the Census,” said Supervisor Dave Cortese. “We need this investment in our Census efforts for our community to be counted accurately and allocated the federal funding to which it is entitled.”