The Census is a vital component of our democracy. It determines representation and funding for important services like transportation, public education, food stamps and WIC, affordable housing, Pell Grants, and more.
The Data collected is also used to redistrict California and to determine the number of legislative seats the state should receive in Congress. The County receives $10,000 for every person counted — this includes every adult, child and baby, including individuals who do not have a home address whether they are a citizen or not. An undercount of just 5% in Alameda County means losing BILLIONS of dollars for these resources.
The Census is a major resource in forwarding social justice. We need the federal gov’t to know who actually makes up our communities and how quickly these communities are diversifying. Additionally, the data produced from the Census guides organizations and governments on where to direct resources.
UC Berkeley is committed to providing information about the census and instilling confidence that the census is a safe and important way to help your community. When you respond to the census, your answers are kept anonymous. The U.S. Census Bureau is bound by law to protect your answers and keep them strictly confidential. The law ensures that your private information is never published and that your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court.
UC Berkeley is in a uniquely challenging position for census work. Shelter-in-Place (SIP) restrictions due to COVID-19 were instituted just before Census Day. Much of the student population returned to their family homes away from Berkeley. This is reflected in the census tracts immediately surrounding the university, which have the lowest response rates in Alameda County.
There is still time to shape the future. Fill out the 2020 Census! By doing so, you’ll be able to ensure just political representation and funding for your community!
Note: If your parents already filled out the census for you, but you lived in Berkeley without your parents this past year, you should still fill out the census. If you lived in any of the UC Berkeley affiliated housing including the dorms, frats/sororities, or co-ops, you do not need to fill it out again, but it never hurts to do so!