• Be counted in 2020: Census provides important funding, data for Santa Maria

    Every business person knows that information is power. One of the best places to gather free intelligence is from the U.S. Census Bureau.

    The 2020 United States Census will take place on April 1, 2020. This decennial Census is constitutionally mandated to count all the people living in the United States.

    Over the next eight months, the business community needs to help make sure the 2020 Census is as complete as possible. Employers are big stakeholders in the census, and getting employees and their families to participate is extremely important.

    Census data are an essential part of business. Retailers use census information in deciding where to locate new stores. Companies use it to plan new services. The census shows where customers are, and in what numbers.
    The census’ demographic information holds exceptional value for businesses. It will help them make informed decisions about expansion, product development, marketing, hiring, risk mitigation and increasing return on investment.

    Want to know the average annual consumer expenditures per Santa Maria household, on dining out, on personal care products, or on vehicle maintenance and repair? Or, for other variables? The census can tell you that.
    It also can tell you their average income, ethnic make-up and average age. It can tell you living arrangements, educational attainment, commuting patterns, and occupations.

    Trade associations, chambers of commerce, and businesses rely on this information for economic development, business decisions, and strategic planning. In addition, companies use data derived from the census to guide community development, operational decisions, and investment of resources.

    If your company buys, or perhaps even does its own, market research, chances are that the basis of that research is census data. A number of firms provide, for a price, demographic data for any population area.

    Estimates put the value of each undercounted resident at about $2,000 a year in local funding for education, health, housing, transportation and other services. For example, if 1,000 children are not counted in Santa Maria, over 10 years that will be a loss of $20 million to the community.

    An undercount will result in Santa Maria receiving less than its fair share of Federal funding for local governments,  heath care, transportation, schools, and other public services – and will affect political representation. An undercount risks California losing up to $70 billion dollars in resources. 

    The City of Santa Maria is taking an active leadership role in educating and mobilizing all Santa Marians to take part in the 2020 Census. The goal is raising awareness and trust. The City is collaborating with, among others, local nonprofits, schools, businesses, and the faith-based community.

    Motivating people to participate in the census includes dispelling myths and ensuring them that all information given in the survey will be strictly confidential. By law, the government is not allowed to share the individual information collected through a census survey with anyone.

    The next census will largely be completed online, so education about the process and internet access will be critical. Learning about the process in advance is important.

    For more information on the upcoming census, contact Mark van de Kamp, Public Information Officer for the City Manager’s Office, at (805) 925-0951 ext. 2372 or email mvandekamp@cityofsantamaria.org.