By Stephanie McNally
Advocacy and Policy Senior Manager, Canal Alliance
According to a report published last year by the Marin County Grand Jury, the population of Marin County is aging rapidly. The report indicated that 27 percent of Marin residents are over the age of 60 and the percentage is expected to increase to 34 percent by 2030.
We have one chance every 10 years to get an accurate count of older adults in our county. The 2020 Census gathers data to prepare government, non-profits, healthcare and other service providers to forecast the needs of our aging population over the
next ten years. Adults 65 years and older have been identified as a group at risk of undercounting in the 2020 Census. As part of the AAI network, you can help ensure that your clients are counted!
The state of California estimates that for each person missed in the count, federal funding will be reduced by $1,000 per person per year. That is $10,000 per person over the next 10 years for a third of our county’s population. Accurate census data determines funding for programs such as Medi-Cal, Medicare Part B, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other programs that support our aging population. This data is also used to ensure we have enough housing, care facilities and healthcare workers over the next 10 years to address the
growth in our aging communities. An undercount could also result in California losing a seat in the House of Representatives.
According to the U. S. Census Bureau, 95 percent of households will receive their census invitation in the mail. Every household will have the option of responding online, by phone or by the traditional paper form. There will be five mailings from the Census Bureau:
1. The first letter will arrive between March 12–20 with an invitation to participate online or by phone
2. A reminder letter will follow between March 16–24
3. If you have not responded by then a reminder postcard will arrive between March 26–April 3
4. Another reminder letter and the traditional paper form will arrive between April 8–16
5. A final reminder postcard will arrive between April 20–27
Residents who have not responded as of the end of April will receive a visit from a census taker between May and July to assist in completing the census questionnaire. Please assure your clients that Census workers are safe and verified workers from the government working to make sure that they are included in this important count.
Help is currently available from the Census Bureau Questionnaire Assistance toll-free phone numbers at 844-330-2020 (English) and at 844-468-2020 (Spanish). Other language toll-free numbers can be found at MarinCensus2020.org. Additionally, there will also be Questionnaire Assistance Centers throughout Marin County including all of our public libraries with computers and volunteers to help you respond.
Your responses to the 2020 Census are safe, secure and protected by federal law. Your answers can only be used to produce statistics and they cannot be used against you in any way. The Census Bureau takes strong precautions to keep online responses secure. All data submitted online are encrypted to protect personal privacy, and their cybersecurity program meets the highest and most recent standards for protecting personal information.
The 2020 Census outreach effort has been a yearlong collaboration of community-based organizations, nonprofits, city councils, county government, public libraries, and volunteers all focused on making sure we count everyone in Marin County.
Even with the coronavirus shelter in place situation, you can make sure you are counted in the 2020 census from home by going to mycensus2020.gov or calling 844-330-2020. To learn more, please visit our county census website: MarinCensus2020.org.