VENTURA, Calif. – Following the completion of the 2020 Census on Thursday, October 15, Ventura County has ranked in the 95th percentile nationwide for the response rate from area residents. Consistently throughout the self-response period, Ventura County has performed above the percentage for self-response state wide, which is recorded at 69.6% and the national average which is 66.9%. As well, several cities across the county achieved a response rate that was 5 points higher than what was recorded in 2010.
“This is an extraordinary achievement for our County and really a testament to the hard work that has been put into planning for and reaching out to the community for the 2020 Census,” said Mike Powers, County Executive Officer. “Through a long-term vision that started in 2018 and close partnerships with over 150 other community-based organization and engaged individuals, we have not only overcome but exceeded expectations.”
All County of Ventura agencies helped promote the Census including lead efforts from the County Executive Office, Human Services Agency, Health Care Agency, Area Agency on Aging and Farmworker Resource Program in conjunction with the Ventura County Complete Count Committee, began preparations for addressing the 2020 Census and the challenges that faced Ventura County nearly two years prior to the count. Due to a large hard-to-count population, the county was ranked the 59th most difficult to count out of more than 3,200 counties nationwide. The two years of preparation and outreach in partnership with non-profit organizations, agencies, and dedicated individuals resulted in an overall self-response rate over 4 points higher than what was recorded in 2010. The success of the Census locally was due largely in part to consistent outreach via more than 100 community events prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a county-wide awareness marketing campaign, and targeted outreach via community partners in aid distribution events during the response to COVID-19. During the COVID-19 response, County agencies continued to conduct multi-lingual outreach in innovative ways on local farms and at food distribution sites, while providing services and delivering food to the most vulnerable.
“I appreciate the dedicated work of the Ventura County Complete Count Committee in helping to achieve this goal during a time when gatherings and other planned events could not take place,” added Powers. “The innovative efforts of our team and the commitment of the community have made an impact.”
The County of Ventura was the largest funder of the outreach with more than $1.8 million in funding Census efforts from financial and in-kind staff support for direct multi-lingual outreach. The funding was also distributed to community groups and cities throughout the County to support the effort. County agencies were involved in outreach at all levels. County employees partnered in the effort with direct outreach in the hard to count areas. As well, the County co-chaired the Complete County Committee and took the lead on the extraordinary outreach to Spanish speaking and indigenous language speaking communities – some of the areas were at highest risk for an undercount but the County’s existing relationships and partnerships helped to connect where trust and relationships had already been built.
The Census serves as an important tool that determines how billions of dollars in federal funding are distributed to local communities. The funds support early education programs, health services like Medicare, and fund infrastructure projects such as road repairs. As well, the information collected from the Census serves as an important source of data for businesses that helps them determine where to invest their resources.