With just over two weeks left until the census deadline, city leaders are making a final push to get residents to complete the survey.
“We’re doing a lot. I mean, social media, outreach from our city council members, from our community, from our staff letting them know how important it is. We have our jumbo-tron off I-10 that continues to shoot a message out ‘hey Census 2020 please get on that and fill your census out,” said Mayor Glenn Miller of Indio.
The census counts the population through a few simple questions, and impacts how much funding is provided to local communities.
This data had the potential to affect education and school lunches, hospital expansions, grants for firefighting services, public works and roadways, where future factories or offices will be built as well as the number of seats in the House of Representatives.
The survey takes just over five minutes to fill out, but so far, only about half of the Coachella Valley has completed the form.
“I’ve gotten a couple of them because I kept ignoring them. We were like, oh, this doesn’t apply to us and we just kept throwing it away so we just never filled it out,” said a Palm Springs resident.
Cathedral City is currently leading the valley with a 60 percent response rate, the rest of the cities are in the 50 percent range, and Indian Wells has the lowest rate at 45.1%
Indian Wells attributes this number to their large amount of secondary homes, as well as their international residents.
Many cities also say a lack of in-person events or communication from the census bureau due to the pandemic has also slowed response rates.
Palm Springs Mayor Pro Tem Christy Holstege says residents have expressed concerns about sharing personal information with the government, but adds census takers have nothing to fear.
“The census is fully confidential for 99 years and is safe to fill out. That information is protected for our entire life times and it won’t be used against you for immigration or any other purposes,” said Christy Holstege.
And now local cities are setting new goals for the Sept. 30 deadline.
“I wish we could get it 100 percent for all of our cities, but we’re hoping to get up into the mid 70s hopefully for the next couple of weeks and really do a push,” said Mayor Miller.