COALITION OF LA LEADERS FIGHT FOR GREATER RESOURCES, REPRESENTATION FOR CHRONICALLY UNDERCOUNTED COMMUNITIES IN US CENSUS 2020

Los Angeles, CA - Today, Los Angeles City Councilmembers Monica Rodriguez, Nury Martinez, Gil Cedillo, Jose Huizar, and Curren Price co-presented legislation calling for a comprehensive outreach and education Census 2020 plan targeting chronically undercounted communities in the City. Los Angeles is home to the largest hard-to-count population in the nation, and an undercount can cost the City millions of dollars in public safety, infrastructure, and quality of life resources.

May 14, 2019
Press Contact:
Tran Le, tran.le@lacity.org
213-257-0475

COALITION OF LA LEADERS FIGHT FOR GREATER RESOURCES, REPRESENTATION FOR CHRONICALLY UNDERCOUNTED COMMUNITIES IN US CENSUS 2020

(Photo by Calvin Fleming)

Los Angeles, CA - Today, Los Angeles City Councilmembers Monica Rodriguez, Nury Martinez, Gil Cedillo, Jose Huizar, and Curren Price presented legislation calling for a comprehensive outreach and education Census 2020 plan targeting chronically undercounted communities in the City. Los Angeles is home to the largest hard-to-count population in the nation, and an undercount can cost the City millions of dollars in public safety, infrastructure, and quality of life resources.

“Communities like mine have been historically undercounted -- in the 2010 Census, neighborhoods in the Northeast San Fernando Valley scored among the highest in low census participation. Further, the transition to the online survey and the proposed immigration question will further inhibit low income communities from being tallied in the Census,” said Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez. “We must correct this failure to ensure that we get the public safety resources we deserve and that all Angelenos are counted in 2020.”

The decennial United States Census is one of the most important events in the American political process as it determines political representation at all forms of government and distribution of billions of dollars in federal, state, and local funding. Historically, minority communities in Los Angeles have been victim to an undercount due to various barriers -- high concentration of renters, socioeconomic status, limited English proficiency, and immigration status. Two new developments in the 2020 Census process also threaten the accuracy of the count. First, the proposed addition of a question regarding citizenship status has the potential to discourage the participation of minority communities. Second, the 2020 Census’ reliance on electronic submittal creates an additional barrier in the Census process, as not all communities have reliable access to computers or the internet.

In order to guarantee an accurate Census count for all Los Angeles residents, it is imperative that these resources are deployed to prioritize outreach in historically undercounted areas. The motion requests the Mayor’s Office Census 2020 Initiative to report to Council with a funding plan for door-to-door outreach and education efforts in chronically undercounted areas, and if necessary, a report on what additional funding the City needs to provide to ensure a comprehensive outreach effort.

"This puts the lives of our most underserved residents on the line, because they are the ones who are constantly receiving the short end of the stick when it comes to receiving access to government representation, investment in education, and community development. If we are undercounted our kids don’t get their fair share, and we lose access to our most crucial resources,” said Councilwoman Nury Martinez.

"It's imperative that the City put forth every effort and resource to make sure all residents, regardless of status, are counted. The future of the city depends on it," said Councilmember Gil Cedillo. "Last year we named Los Angeles a 'City of Sanctuary,' and it is time now to secure the resources and representation needed so that it stays that way - and it begins by us making sure every Angeleno knows not only that it's okay, but it's absolutely necessary that they step out of the shadows and be counted."

"Since its foundation, an accurate Census Count has been critical to our democracy’s well-being, continued growth and the fair representation of all the country’s residents. The federal government is actively trying to suppress an accurate count to marginalize many of the immigrant, people of color and homeless populations that call Los Angeles home. It is imperative that our City does all it can to ensure we have an accurate Census Count," said Councilmember Jose Huizar.

The motion was introduced today and will return to the Council for review in the coming weeks. To read the motion, click here.

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Los Angeles City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez serves as the City’s Chair of Public Safety and represents the 7th Council District in the Northeast San Fernando Valley which include the neighborhoods of Sylmar, Mission Hills, Pacoima, Lake View Terrace, Sunland, Tujunga, North Hills, Shadow Hills, and La Tuna Canyon.