Today, I addressed the House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census & National Archives right before a critical juncture of the Census process. Tomorrow, on May 1st, U.S. Census workers will begin knocking on the doors of those Angelenos whose forms were not received through the mail.
I am calling on every resident who has not yet submitted their census form to cooperate fully with enumerators. Deployed by the U.S. Census Bureau, enumerators are sworn to protect confidentiality and will carry an official badge. Still, enumerators are sometimes met with residents unwilling to cooperate due to distrust issues and anti-government sentiment.
Therefore, to reach these residents who have not yet been counted, it is everyone's personal responsibility to spread the message that the answers to the questionnaire will not be shared with any government agency. We need to meet the fear of losing the right to privacy head-on with the simple fact that by taking ten minutes of their time to fill out this form, they will be framing the next ten years. We need to educate uneasy Angelenos that the real harm is not filling out a form that is estimated to bring $2,000 for every county resident.
We cannot let another devastating under-count happen again. In 2000, it is estimated that 76,800 Angelenos did not return their forms. This was the second highest under-count of any city in the nation and resulted in a loss of $206 million for the City of Los Angeles for the following ten years.
That is why my office launched an aggressive multi-media, grassroots campaign to supplement the Bureau's efforts on a local level. When evaluating the City's course of action for the enumerator phase, we used the Bureau's participation rate map to measure the correlation between canvassing and higher turn out rates. The map revealed that the neighborhood with the most neighborhood canvassing, the San Fernando Valley, experienced the highest increase in participation rates.
That is why moving forward, we are building upon the success of our field plan with the addition of 30 part-time employees for 30 days to canvass under-counted, highly populated neighborhoods. Comprised of young adults from our highly successful Summer Night Lights Program, the 30-30 initiative will strategically place teams out in the most under-counted communities everyday until the end of May to knock on doors and educate Angelenos about the importance of cooperating with enumerators. And thanks to data gathered from the Advancement Project, we will be able to use our limited resources - canvassers - efficiently by targeting specific neighborhoods with low participation rates and high population density.
To find out about canvassing volunteer opportunities or to find more information on the census go to: www.lacounts2010.org/
Cross-posted at mayor.lacity.org
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