Early data shows increase in 2010 Census participation for Asian and Pacific Islander communities

Contact: Carlo De La Cruz
415-896-1701 ex. 121
April 15, 2010

Early data shows increase in 2010 Census participation for Asian and Pacific Islander communities

SAN FRANCISCO – The Asian Pacific Islander community is showing marked
improvement in 2010 Census participation rates compared to 2000.  Daily
updates on the return rate of completed Census forms reveals that
certain high density Asian neighborhoods have already exceeded their
return rates from 10 years ago, and many are on track to surpass their
rates from 2000.

“We are optimistic about the numbers because they come from
neighborhoods where our partners have been doing outreach,”  said Carlo
De La Cruz, the Census Project Coordinator for the Asian Law Caucus, an
anchor organization for API census outreach in the region. “But these
tracts are in areas that are still lagging behind the overall response
rate, so we are working hard to ensure everyone is counted.”

Oakland Chinatown and San Francisco Chinatown & SOMA districts doing
very well

According to the Census Bureau’s website, as of April 12th most of the
Census tracts that make up Oakland Chinatown have already surpassed
their 2000 response rates by at least 5%, with the highest response rate
at 72%. Moreover, all of the Chinatown Census tracts currently either
surpass or match the California state wide average of 63%.

Similar improvement can be seen in San Francisco’s Chinatown and South
of Market districts where a dense Chinese and Filipino population
reside. In the four census tracts that encompass SOMA, two Census tracts
have already surpassed their 2000 response rates by 7% and 3%. Although
the response rates of the SOMA district tracts -41%, 57%, 46%, & 60% as
of April 12th-are still below the San Francisco average of 62%, the
numbers still show a significant improvement as SOMA was among the
city’s hardest to count areas in 2000.

In San Francisco’s Chinatown, three of the four tracts that encompass
the area have all surpassed their 2000 numbers. One tract even jumping
21% from a 48% response rate in 2000 to a 69% response rate as of April

Improvements are due to the work of local Community Based Organizations

“Areas that had a low response rate in the 2000 Census have received
more attention and more in-language resources, both from the Census
Bureau and CBOs, in hopes that it will result in a higher response
rate,” says Jackie Murahashi from the Asian Law Alliance in San Jose.

These numbers are even more encouraging when taking into consideration
that a significant number of housing units have not yet been counted, as
they will be part of the Enumeration of Transitory Locations operation
in late April when the Census bureau will count all group and temporary
housing such as College and University Resident Halls and Single Room
Occupancy (SROs) buildings.

“A significant portion of our community live in SROs so it’s important
that these units don’t get overlooked” said Farmmary Saephan Coordinator
of the Asian Pacific Islander Family Resource Network. “We’ve even had a
number of these residents come up to us and ask why they haven’t
received their form, so that’s a good sign showing they know about the
Census and want to be counted.”

New resources in 2010 led to higher level of strategizing

Although the improved response rates are not uniform across the API
community, there are efforts to ensure that every part of the community
gets counted. De La Cruz adds, “We’re not only being more specific about
our outreach efforts, we are also being more strategic about how we
share resources and information. This time around we are utilizing a lot
of tools and resources that weren’t available to us before, such as our
national online resource hub for the API community,

Fillinourfuture.org allows anyone to download and upload Census
materials in various API languages, from Video PSAs to translated
brochures. “We now have the ability to reach every aspect of the API
community with the wealth of resources in dozens of languages hosted by
the website. Now CBOs don’t have to worry about how they will translate
or get hold of materials on their own,” De La Cruz stated.

These are significant new resources, because this year, strained by the
down economy and a state deficient of over $20 billion, Sacramento
reduced the funding for Census outreach to $2 million.  This resulted in
fewer resources for community outreach. In 2000 the state of California
dedicated over 24.7 million dollars  for Census outreach and education.
To address this decrease in funding from the State, the Asian Pacific
Fund, Akonadi Foundation, Gerbode Foundation, the San Francisco
Foundation, and the City of Francisco have dedicated over $500,000 to
funding local CBOs in the Bay Area to engage in Census outreach and
educational work in the API community.

The last day to mail back census forms is April 17th, after April 17th
Census enumerators will beginning the Non-Response Follow Up operation
in which individual households are counted through in-person interviews.
Telephone Questionnaire Assistance hotlines, Be Counted Sites and
Questionnaire Assistance Centers will remain open until April 19th. For
more information visit 2010census.gov

# # #

ASIAN LAW CAUCUS (ALC) – The mission of the Asian Law Caucus is to
promote, advance, and represent the legal and civil rights of the Asian
and Pacific Islander communities. Recognizing that social, economic,
political and racial inequalities continue to exist in the United
States, the Asian Law Caucus is committed to the pursuit of equality and
justice for all sectors of our society with a specific focus directed
toward addressing the needs of low-income and Asian and Pacific
Islanders. Visit: asianlawcaucus.org


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