Release: California’s 2020 Census Campaign Highlights Accessibility Efforts 

FOR PLANNING PURPOSES: Wednesday, April 8, 2020
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California’s 2020 Census Campaign Highlights Accessibility Efforts 

SACRAMENTO – With the 2020 Census count underway, the California For All – Census 2020 Campaign today highlighted a series of measures to help the hardest-to-count Californians get the information and support they need to participate in the 2020 Census. This inclusive campaign includes a multilingual and multi-targeted approach to reach out to California’s vulnerable populations including people with disabilities, non-English speakers and communities with limited broadband access.

“The Census is our nation’s most inclusive civic engagement experience, counting each person in the United States – regardless of age, race, ethnicity, religion or citizenship. From the beginning, California’s 2020 Census campaign has been focused on running an inclusive campaign that celebrates our state’s diversity and ultimately encourages and supports every Californian’s participation in the 2020 Census,” said Ditas Katague, Director of the California Complete Count – Census 2020 Office.

California’s Census campaign has assembled a historically diverse coalition comprising hundreds of partner organizations to help reach the hardest-to-count populations in California. The campaign focuses on leveraging trusted messengers – community leaders, organizations and influencers – to educate and motivate California’s hardest-to-count communities to participate in the 2020 Census.

Supporting Californians with Disabilities

The Disability Counts 2020 campaign – a partnership among the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, the Disability Organizing Network, 21 independent living centers, and five Aging and Disability Resource Centers – has produced nine short videos (between 60-90 seconds) in English, Spanish and American Sign Language to help educate Californians about the importance of participating in the Census. The videos allay fears about Census participation and highlight how people with disabilities can get answers to their questions – including through deaf-friendly services like video relay.

“Everyone has a right to be counted – but exercising that right is particularly important for people with disabilities who rely on health care, food stamps, special education and other programs that are funded based on the Census count. Through its commitment to outreach and engagement efforts, the state’s Census campaign has made it clear: people with disabilities count,” said Susan Henderson, Executive Director of DREDF.

The state’s comprehensive outreach and multi-media effort encourages all Californians to participate in the Census as soon as possible and provides them with culturally sensitive and in-language support to do so.

In-Language Resources & Tools

Last week, the campaign unveiled a new 30-second television ad that will run in 10 languages statewide. Last fall, the campaign launched a public-facing website in 13 languages, in-language radio, digital and out-of-home advertisements. These efforts align with the language access guidelines put forward by the campaign last year.

State-funded partners are going above and beyond these guidelines with additional in-language support for a total of 137 languages across the state. For example, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ) – Los Angeles, together with its AAAJ affiliates, Empowering Pacific Islander Communities, and their partners have developed factsheets, toolkits, social medial tools and other Census resources available in 25 different Asian and Pacific Islander languages.

“Given the safer-at-home and shelter-at-home protocols in place across the state, we’re grateful to our statewide partners for being quick to pivot their strategies to include robust virtual community organizing and outreach tactics to educate on the importance of the Census,” said June Lim, Demographic Research Program Director, AAAJ. “From as far north as San Francisco, to Fresno, Los Angeles, Orange County to San Diego, we’re informing API communities to complete the Census online, by phone or by mail. It’s important to shape our communities for the greater good and the time to do so is right now.”

Low Broadband

To get the word out to communities with limited broadband access, the campaign’s paid media effort also includes rural and regional radio stations and unique out-of-home advertising opportunities – for example on shopping carts – designed to target Californians who lack access to high-speed Internet.

“Many aspects of our daily lives are increasingly done online – and that now includes participating in the 2020 Census. But the millions of Californians who don’t have access to high-speed Internet must still be counted, and that’s the reason our campaign is working so hard to ensure that people not only know how to participate by phone, but also how they can get low-cost Internet services,” said Paola Hernandez, Census Program Manager at United Ways of California, the state’s outreach partner to low broadband communities.

In addition, California’s low broadband efforts include a text-in campaign, which provides households which have no or very low access to broadband with information on ways to participate. To be added to the list, Californians can text “Pledge” to 211-211. The campaign is being promoted by print & radio ads, as well as targeted ads on social media channels for mobile users.

In addition, California’s low broadband campaign will be mailing informational materials directly to thousands of households that have no or very low access to broadband. These houses in rural or no/low broadband areas are less likely to see social or digital media advertisements and would rely on information through more traditional media means.

The 2020 Census is the first to rely heavily on online responses. In light of COVID-19 concerns, it is important to highlight that every Californian can respond to the Census online at or by phone by calling the numbers available below, or by mail if they received a paper form. This week, the U.S. Census Bureau will be mailing out the paper form to households that have not responded to the Census form.

The California Complete Count – Census 2020 Office will continue outreach and education efforts in a way that protects the health and safety of all Californians. That includes shifting toward phone banks, webinars and events where partners can continue to give the state’s hard-to-reach communities the information and the support they need to participate in the Census with confidence.

What Californians Need to Know About the 2020 Census:

  • The Census is a simple, confidential 9 question survey
  • Questions include name, address, sex, race, ethnicity, age, and whether you own or rent the home
  • Californians should self-identify in regard to race, ethnicity and gender
  • Make sure you count everyone in your home, including any friends or family members who are living and sleeping there most of the time
  • The Census Bureau will never ask about your citizenship status, or for sensitive information like your social security number, bank accounts, or payments/donations
  • The Census Bureau will never reach out to you on behalf of a political party
  • Your responses to the Census are protected by law and cannot be shared with, or used by, any other government agencies. Answers cannot be used for law enforcement purposes, to determine eligibility for government benefits or immigration enforcement
  • For more information and answers to frequently asked questions, please visit org.

Why California’s Participation Counts
Ensuring every California household participates in the Census is critically important. Mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the Census determines how billions of dollars of federal funding are distributed to each state every year for education resources, affordable housing programs, nutrition and health care services, and more. Estimates show that for every person uncounted, California could lose $1,000 a year for 10 years. That’s as much as $10,000 per person in funds lost over the next decade.

The Census also determines the state’s political representation through the number of representatives in the U.S. Congress and the California State Legislature. Participating in the Census can help ensure Californians’ voices are heard in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.


The California Complete Count – Census 2020 Office
Once each decade, the U.S. Census Bureau attempts to count every person in the United States. California leaders have invested $187.2 million toward a statewide outreach and communication campaign. For more information, please go to

DATA: To see data on the hard-to-count populations in cities, counties, congressional and legislative districts in California, please visit:



English 844-330-2020
Spanish 844-468-2020
Chinese (Mandarin) 844-391-2020
Chinese (Cantonese) 844-398-2020
Vietnamese 844-461-2020
Korean 844-392-2020
Russian 844-417-2020
Arabic 844-416-2020
Tagalog 844-478-2020
Polish 844-479-2020
French 844-494-2020
Haitian Creole 844-477-2020
Portuguese 844-474-2020
Japanese 844-460-2020
English (Puerto Rico residents) 844-418-2020
Spanish (Puerto Rico residents) 844-426-2020
Telephone Display Device (TDD) 844-467-2020


All lines provide live customer service representative support providing information about the 2020 Census and assistance with the questionnaire.

  • Callers to the English and Spanish language lines will be routed through the Interactive Voice Response system prior to being transferred to a customer service representative.
  • Callers to all other language lines will be greeted in that language by a customer service representative.

Please see the U.S. Census Bureau video guides here.