• Marin Voice: Facing pandemic recovery, San Rafael, Novato businesses stress 2020 census

    July 27, 2020

    Let’s Get Everyone Counted This Time!

    A complete count in the 2020 Census is important for Marin County’s economy over the next 10 years and especially in recovery efforts from COVID-19. Every year, roughly $1.5 trillion in federal resources are distributed using census data. Responding to the census questionnaire helps ensure Marin gets a fair share of funding. These are investments that contribute to a strong community and a healthy economy and will assist in our recovery efforts when the COVID-19 pandemic is over. If everyone in our county responds to the census, we will then get our equitable share of federal resources and investments that will directly assist businesses and residents.  It is imperative that every Marin resident is accurately counted in 2020.
    The Council for a Strong America’s Ready Nation 2020 Census web page highlights how census data supports our diverse business sector in Marin County:
    1. Allocating millions of dollars in federal funding each year for our hospitals, emergency services, schools, roads, workforce development and much more.
    2. Determining the distribution of resources for various federal business loan programs and to provide a foundation for some of the conventional support offered through Small Business Administration offices and partners around the country.
    3. It is also a key ingredient in market and economic analyses for our employers. Providing businesses with essential data to help them strategically inform where to open a new store, determine labor force availability or what products to stock on their shelves.
    To date, 70.8% of Marin County households have self-responded to the census. However, in several San Rafael census tracts the response rates are running as low as 50% and these tracts are 10% lower than they were in 2010. Novato’s lowest response rates range from 60.7% to 76.5% and while they are closer to their 2010 response rate, is it accurate to say everyone counts when we are excluding almost 30% of the population?
    As business leaders of the San Rafael and Novato Chambers, we care about how resources are allocated to our members and their communities. Census data informs our local leaders about how to improve our neighborhoods, create good jobs and plan for the future. An accurate count guarantees our community receives the key funding we need to recover and rebuild.
    Employers can help safeguard accuracy by encouraging employees and customers to participate, especially those who have been difficult to reach.  It is crucial that people of color, low-wage households, young children (especially in our rural communities), immigrants, and seniors get counted. Chamber members are trusted messengers and can educate and motivate employees and customers to ensure a complete count that we absolutely need in order to support our businesses during this challenging time.
    Between August and October, census workers will visit households that have not yet completed the 2020 Census. Please respond now, before a door knock from a census taker by going online to My2020census.gov, by calling 844-330-2020 (English) or 844-468-2020 (Spanish) or by completing and mailing back the form that was delivered to your home. Please keep in mind that completing the census is confidential. All  census takers must carry a photo ID badge with a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark and expiration date, they will never ask you about your finances, citizenship or immigration status, or social security number and it is against the law for them to share your answers with anyone, including your landlord, employer, police, or any other government agency. You can verify a census worker’s identity by calling the regional Census office at 213-314-6500.
    We welcome everyone, whether you are a business owner, essential worker or member of the community, to complete the 2020 census and encourage others to do the same. Your contribution will impact all of us for the next 10 years.
    Joanne Webster
    President and CEO, San Rafael Chamber of Commerce
    817 Mission Avenue, San Rafael
    Coy Smith
    CEO, Novato Chamber of Commerce
    807 De Long Avenue, Novato

    Read it in the IJ here
    Joanne Webster, President and CEO
    jwebster@srchamber.com, (415) 454-4163