As mandated by the United States Constitution, the United States Census Bureau conducts a survey of everyone living in the country every ten years. Census data is used to determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives and to distribute more than $600 billion in federal funding for healthcare, education, and infrastructure. The California Department of Finance estimates that the state and local governments will receive approximately $1,950 per resident per year in federal funding that is allocated based on Census counts. As such, an undercount of California’s population could significantly reduce the state’s share of federal funds.
Many challenges threaten a complete and accurate count of Californians in the Census. More than 20 percent of California's populated areas are considered "hard-to-count,” with Los Angeles County having been identified as the most difficult county in the nation to count. Hard-to-count refers to counties where the self-response rate to the census questionnaire has historically been low. At the federal level, preparation for the Census is behind schedule and a lack of funding from Congress has forced the Census Bureau to cancel key preparations, including testing a new and unused method of response. As a result, the federal Government Accountability Office has deemed the Census an “at-risk program.”
In January, Governor Brown allocated $40.3 million to Census outreach in his proposed budget.
The Select Committee on the Census will work closely with the Administration in preparation for the Census, assist with outreach, collect data, and hold informational hearings across the state on the Census process and engagement.
Members of the Select Committee:
- Marc Berman, Chair
- Cecilia Aguiar-Curry
- Dr. Joaquin Arambula
- Sabrina Cervantes
- Ed Chau
- Philip Chen
- Jordan Cunningham
- Jacqui Irwin
- Reggie Jones-Sawyer
- Marie Waldron
- Shirley Weber
For more information, please contact Chris Wagaman at Chris.Wagaman@asm.ca.gov.