A County Me 2020 volunteer with census information. Courtesy of the organization

With local participation in the decennial U.S. Census at only 67.5%, the Count Me 2020 Coalition is urging San Diegans to complete their form as soon as possible so all Californians are counted.

During a “week of action” beginning Monday, the coalition of community organizations in San Diego and Imperial counties will host a series of outreach efforts to encourage the public to take the 2020 Census online, by phone or by mail in July.

The efforts include pop-up events with free food, t-shirts and masks; auto caravans through under-counted neighborhoods; and phone banks.

“An undercount of our region is imminent,” according to the coalition. “Low response rates are reported in neighborhoods with high-density housing and mixed-use, and among Latino and Asian households.”

Among the areas with a low count are Oceanside, El Cajon, Lemon Grove, La Presa,  Chula Vista and a number of central San Diego neighborhoods such as Barrio Logan and City Heights.

Beginning in August, the U.S. Census Bureau is scheduled to begin sending official enumerators to visit to households that have not completed their form.

The coalition said California is the hardest state to count and has been under-counted in every Census. The reasons include a diverse population, language barriers and distrust of the federal government, especially among undocumented immigrants.

The goal of the Census is to count everyone in the United States — whether a citizen or not — in order to distribute congressional districts and federal funds proportionately.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.