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Local census officials react to deadline moving once again

Posted at 6:44 PM, Oct 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-15 00:29:42-04

The U.S Census Bureau will be ending its field operations this Thursday following a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The deadline has been moved multiple times this year and now with this recent announcement, local officials are encouraging people to make sure they are counted.

"It's not just our right now that we are determining, it's our future and our children's future," said Joni Maiden, Santa Barbara Census Co-Chair.

Officials say this year is more important than ever.

"The date has changed a number of times. I think that may have added to the public confusion about how much time they have to respond and the urgency of it,” said Kristin Eriksson, San Luis Obispo County Administrative Analyst.

“We are disappointed that it's ending tomorrow but we did everything we can to get out a complete count."

This year, Santa Barbara County held drive-through caravans and went door-to-door working to get in touch with those who might otherwise not participate.

Despite outreach changes due to COVID-19, Santa Barbara County census response rates have gone up.

"In 2010, our response rate was 68.5 percent and as of October we are at 71.7 percent in our county,” Maiden said.

Santa Maria city officials say although this year's numbers are up, there are census tracks in some neighborhoods that are under 55 percent.

"Everyone in Santa Maria really counts so we are making that effort to encourage and really implore them, please do take part in the census,” said Mark van de Kamp, City of Santa Maria Public Information Officer.

County officials say they are not sure how this date change will affect funding or representation but want to remind people who haven't already completed the census to do so now.

To fill out the 2020 Census, you can do it online by clicking here or by calling via phone here.