Sign encouraging census participation
A sign encouraging residents to participate in the 2020 census hangs from the Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

The California population count is running ahead of 2010 as the 2020 U.S. Census entered its final day on Thursday.

The official count, required every decade by the Constitution, determines the 50 states’ representation in Congress and the distribution of federal funds.

As of the beginning of this week, 10.5 million California households had responded to the Census, 1.9 million more than in 2010. The self-response rate was 69.4%, up from 68.2% in the last Census.

The latest figures show a state population of 38.98 million, an increase of 1.7 million from 2010.

If you haven’t responded to the Census, you still have a little time — until 2:59 a.m. Pacific time on Friday morning — at this link.

“We implore Californians who have yet to take the Census to fill it out today before midnight. This is our moment to be counted and make a difference for our family and community. If California households aren’t counted in this Census, they will become invisible for the next 10 years,” said Ditas Katague, director of the California Complete Count – Census 2020.

Census counting was extended for several months because of the pandemic, but the Supreme Court allowed it to end Oct. 15 to leave enough time to compile the results before the end of the year.

California is considered the hardest-to-count state in the nation, with a large, diverse population, and a high number of recent immigrants, people who lack high-speed Internet access, and people with limited English proficiency.

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