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Community Groups Working To Make Sure All San Diegans Participate In 2020 Census

People at the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA on March 6, 2020, hear about the up...

Photo by Matt Hoffman

Above: People at the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA on March 6, 2020, hear about the upcoming 2020 census.

Soon residents across San Diego county will start receiving mailers for the upcoming census and local community groups are reaching out to people who may otherwise not participate.

"Alliance San Diego has been on the ground for this census since October," Vanessa Green with Alliance San Diego said during a census workshop at the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA on Friday.

Green said so far her team has knocked on thousands of doors, trying to speak with “hard to count” people.

"Hard to count is the folks who generally don’t participate in the census," Green said. "Folks who have been missed in the census."

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While knocking on doors, Green has noticed a trend.

"Right now it’s a lot of our immigrant and refugee folks are scared to take the census because even though they say it’s been confidential they don’t trust the government at this point," Green said.

The Trump administration tried and failed to have a question asking if people were U.S. citizens included in this census.

Green said talking to people who are afraid of taking the census has been working.

"We’ve changed some folks minds and people trust us because it’s Alliance San Diego," Green said. "It's (Alliance San Diego's) been in this community for a while working for folks who are usually on the fringe — who are marginalized.

Billions of dollars in federal funding for hospitals, schools and roads come from census data.

"So we want to make sure that San Diego has one of the largest counts ever," Green said.

For the first time, people can take the 2020 census online. There will also be kiosks for people at local libraries and community centers. The other options are completing it by mail or phone.

By mid-March people should be getting census information in the mail. If people do not respond, expect workers to be knocking on doors come May.

For more information go to 2020census.gov.

Listen to this story by Matt Hoffman.

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Matt Hoffman
General Assignment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I like to dig deeper to find the voices and perspectives that other media often miss.

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