Assemblymember Berman Selected to Lead 2020 Census Committee

February 5, 2018

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto) has been appointed by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) to Chair the Assembly Select Committee on the Census.

“With congressional representation and billions of dollars in federal funding at stake, it is critically important that every resident in California is counted in the 2020 Census,” said Assemblymember Berman. “There are many obstacles to an accurate count – the Census is severely underfunded and already behind schedule due to federal inaction – but we are going to do everything we can to ensure full participation.”

As mandated by the Constitution, the United States Census Bureau conducts a survey of everyone living in the country every ten years. Census data is used to determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives and to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funding for healthcare, education, and infrastructure. The California Department of Finance estimates that for every Californian not counted in 2020, state and local governments will lose $1,950 per resident per year.

“As both the most populous state and a “donor” state, California has a lot at stake in ensuring a fair and thorough census,” said Speaker Rendon. “Assemblymember Berman and his committee will work hard to help make that happen.”

Many challenges threaten a complete and accurate count of Californians in the Census. More than 20 percent of California's populated areas are considered "hard-to-count,” with Los Angeles County having been identified as the most difficult county in the nation to count. Hard-to-count refers to counties where the self-response rate to the census questionnaire has historically been low. At the federal level, preparation for the Census is behind schedule and a lack of funding from Congress has forced the Census Bureau to cancel key preparations, including testing a new and unused method of response. As a result, the federal Government Accountability Office has deemed the Census an “at-risk program.”

In January, Governor Brown allocated $40.3 million to Census outreach in his proposed budget. The Select Committee on the Census will work closely with the Brown administration in preparation for the Census, assist with outreach, collect data, and hold informational hearings across the state on the Census process and engagement.

Other members of the committee include: Assemblymembers Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, Dr. Joaquin Arambula, Sabrina Cervantes, Ed Chau, Philip Chen, Jordan Cunningham, Jacqui Irwin, Reggie Jones-Sawyer, Marie Waldron, and Shirley Weber.


Contact: Kaitlin Curry, (916) 319-2024