Some South Bay officials are afraid not enough people have filled out the 2020 U.S. Census and not enough people understand how cities benefit from the information it gathers.
The City of Chula Vista said its residents just benefitted from money the city received courtesy of the last Census in 2010. The coronavirus has crippled businesses and forced thousands of people out of work. On Tuesday, the Chula Vista City Council moved more than $1 million into a program to help residents pay their rent.
“That was in response to the need,” said Angelica Davis, who is with Chula Vista’s Housing Division.
She said that money was available because of Census data collected a decade ago.
“This data that goes back to the federal government determines how much money the region actually needs,” said Davis. “Where your hospitals are going, your schools, where businesses will be located… Building our streets, new sidewalks, social service programs.”
The U.S. government is now collecting the 2020 Census. However, Davis said not enough Chula Vistans are participating.
“I have not to be a hundred-percent honest with you,” Mike Jimenez replied when asked if he filled out his census.
He said he knows he got his in the mail.
“Two. I received two of them. I’m not going to lie,” he said.
“We’re extremely concerned because there is a certain mistrust,” said Davis.
Davis said some people fear filling out the information because they’re concerned the answers will be used against them. However, Davis reassured people the answers are only about demographics and numbers, not citizenship. She added the census takes less than 10 minutes to complete.
“It impacts us on a daily basis and it’s just 10 minutes to change the next 10 years,” she said.
“We shouldn’t be afraid, especially if it’s going to be that beneficial,” said Jimenez.
The Chula Vista man said he’s one of the lucky ones. He could restart his Chula Vista Watersports when the city reopened Bayfront Park. Nevertheless, he said he would fill out his census.
“It’s important, especially in the City of Chula Vista, being the second largest population, that we receive the proper funding for the things that we’re going to be doing here,” he said.
According to the US Census website, people have until the end of October to complete their Census at home.