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Census 2020

  • Overview

    Everyone counts in Marin

    The 2020 Census is just a few months away, and it will likely be the most difficult in recent history. Immigrant and low-income communities of color are the most at-risk of being undercounted by the census, leading to cuts in funding to critical services such as Medicare, Medicaid, and SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) in those areas as well as the possibility of the loss of representation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

    For every person residing in California that is not counted in the 2020 Census, the State of California will lose up to $1,950 every year for the next 10 years.

    Community Action Marin is partnering closely with Canal Alliance as the co-lead agencies for Marin County’s Complete County Committee.  Together, with them and a coalition of Marin agencies, we are working to ensure that the marginalized people we serve are adequately counted and represented in the 2020 Census.

    For more information and resources visit:


    Funding for social programs lost every year for 10 years, for every person not counted.
    People were estimated to be undercounted in the last Census in 2010
    The average pay rate for a census taker position. The Census Bureau is recruiting thousands of people to new jobs.

    There’s huge stakes for the 2020 census for California. It determines federal funding formulas for 10 years, and more than 70 percent of Californians fit some sort of hard-to-count criteria. Read more about the Census 2020.

    Alex Padilla, California Secretary of State
  • FAQ

    What exactly is the Census?

    The census is a self-portrait of the nation. The U.S. Constitution requires the federal government count everyone living in the country every 10 years. The tally must include people of all ages, races, and ethnic groups; all citizens and non-citizens. Every household should complete a census form (either online, or by mail or phone) by the end of April 2020. Participating in the census is our right and responsibility.

    Why should the Census matter to me?

    Census data shapes the future of our community and defines our voice in Congress.

    • The 2020 Census will determine how more than $800 billion in federal government resources will be distributed each year for the next decade to states and localities.
    • Census data is used to determine where schools, roads, hospitals, child care centers, senior centers and other services should be built.
    • Key federal programs rely on data and allocations derived from the census, including:
    • Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicare Part B, Highway Planning and Construction, Section 8, Title I Grants, Special Education Grants (IDEA), State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Head Start.
    • Census data are also used for apportionment of Congressional seats and redistricting at all levels of government.
    • Census data are indispensable for monitoring discrimination and the enforcement of a broad range of civil rights laws.

    If I respond to the Census, how will my information be kept private?

    Under the law, Census data can only be used for statistical purposes. Title 13 of the U.S. Code requires respondent’s information to be kept confidential, and guarantees personal information will not be used against respondents in court or by a government agency.

    Personal census information cannot be disclosed for 72 years (including names, addresses, and telephone numbers).

    Census Bureau staff who have access to personal information are sworn for life to protect confidentiality, and are subject to a $250,000 fine and/or up to five years in federal prison for wrongful disclosure of information.

    For more details see this fact sheet on The 2020 Census and Confidentiality.