July 2, 2020
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United Way ensuring community gets fair share in 2020 census

April 5, 2019

In one year, the 2020 Census will be in full swing and United Way of the Wine Country (UWWC) is committed to ensuring a fair and accurate count.  America is changing fast and the 2020 Census will determine how more than $800 billion in federal funding is allocated each year. The census is critical for figuring out what our communities need to be healthier, safer and more successful. United Way wants to ensure everyone is counted and believes we have to start preparing now.

UWWC has joined the effort by partnering with the California Complete Count – Census 2020 initiative for Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Lake, Humboldt, Del Norte and Trinity counties.  UWWC will serve as the region’s Administrative Community Based Organization in coordination with each county’s Complete County Committee.

“Our community loses $2,000 in federal support every year for every person not counted in the census. This equates to a loss of $20,000 over the course of a decade. United Way is well positioned to serve as a backbone for community education, coalition-building and get-out-the-count efforts.  United Way leads and supports programs that predominantly serve low-income and hard-to-count communities.  Without participation in the census, many in our communities are vulnerable to becoming further marginalized because they are losing their voice in resource allocation decisions – census participation lifts their voices, “said Lisa G. Carreño, President and CEO.

The primary and perpetual challenge facing the U.S. Census Bureau is the undercount of certain population groups. That challenge is amplified in California, where more residents are considered traditionally hard to count. Those difficult to count include:  rural and foreign-born residents; renters; individuals living in homes without a broadband subscription; people living close to or below the poverty line; youth and young adults; LGBT+ community; seniors especially those who are frail, disabled, and isolated; and children zero to five years old.

If our community is not fully counted in the 2020 Census, we will miss out on investments and resources we need and deserve. In 2016, California received $115 billion in federal dollars based on census data, including almost $55.5 billion in Medicaid, more than $3.5 billion in highway planning and construction, and almost $1.5 billion for the school lunch program. More information about funding derived from census data can be found at