University of Southern California
USC Dornsife: College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Census 2020 in the San Joaquin Valley



Census 2020 in the San Joaquin Valley: An Empirical Assessment of Strategies to Activate Populations That Have Been Historically Undercounted

April 2023

By Joanna Lee and Jennifer Ito

Every ten years, every person in the United States is to be counted. Ensuring a complete and accurate count requires concerted effort and community investment to locate, equip, and persuade people who are less likely to participate in the census.

This report looks at the grassroots, community-driven outreach strategies implemented by The Center at Sierra Health Foundation’s funded community partners to increase participation in the census among communities in Southern San Joaquin Valley that have been historically undercounted. The study focuses on two outreach strategies: door-to-door canvassing and phone-banking. It finds that there were measurable improvements in self-response rates among census tracts that were canvassed and phone banked. It is likely that inequities in self-response rates would have been far greater without the highly intensive investments in community outreach. The study was commissioned by The Center at Sierra Health Foundation.

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