Our second research report in our 2020 Census series, in partnership with the public interest firm Ong & Associates, shows Los Angeles County is facing the unprecedented challenge of completing the 2020 census enumeration, the once in a decade effort to count every American for critically important political, economic and social reasons. On April 30, 2020, the County was about 11 percentage points and a third of a million households behind the 2010 census. The shortfall coincides with the start of the COVID-19 crisis, but several other factors contribute to the problem.
This problem is compounded by a major change in the way most residents fill out the census form (from mailing in paper questionnaires in 2010 to answering online in 2020), linguistic and cultural barriers, lack of internet access, and socioeconomic disparities. The net results are systematic and systemic geographic variations in the response rate, with many low-income and minority neighborhoods lagging far behind.
The places with the lowest response rates face a gap at least twice as high as for the rest of the county. On average, these low-response places are 29 percentage points behind. To ensure that the residents of Los Angeles County receive fair political representation and just resource allocation, it is vital that stakeholders proactively assess and revamp the enumeration process to minimize the overall undercount and the racial differential undercount.
Download LA County report > Los Angeles County 2020 Census Response Rate Falling Behind
Download our first Nationwide report > Census 2020 Response Rate Falling Behind
Image from LA County Census website