Long Beach hopes to get more accurate picture of its residents in 2020 census count

Getting an accurate population count can be tough in a dense, urban city like Long Beach.

In the 2010 census, for example, Long Beach’s total population was 462,257, but that number should have been much higher, said Mayor Robert Garcia.

“We know for a fact Long Beach was undercounted,” he said.

On Friday, the city kicked off its first Complete Count Committee meeting to plan for the 2020 census count. City leaders, determined to get a more accurate count this time, have proposed $600,000 in one-time funds in the 2020 budget to support census work.

Long Beach will partner with state and federal committees to canvas the city beginning early next year.

Speaking to the crowd, Garcia stressed the importance of having an accurate census count. The 2020 census determines everything from billions of dollars in federal and state funding, to congressional districts and City Council boundaries.

The mayor said everyone in the city should care about the census, because it means direct funding for Long Beach.

“We lose literally thousands of dollars for every person not counted,” he said. “This will define us for the next decade.”

The census committee will begin mailing out fliers to notify residents in March. Nearly every household will receive an invitation to participate, with the option of responding online, by mail or by phone.

Garcia said census workers will spend extra time reaching out to address the concerns of immigrant communities and those who are wary of being counted.

“The city is fully committed to partnering and working with the entire community to ensure we get an accurate count,” he said.

Some highlights from the 2010 census and community surveys:

  • Total population in 2010 was 462,257. Estimated population in 2018 was 467,354.
  • Hispanic or Latino of any race 40.8%; white 46.1%; black or African American 13.5%; Asian 12.9% (2010 U.S. Census).
  • Median age is 34.3.
  • Nearly 80% percent of residents are high school graduates or higher.
  • More than 25% of the population was below the poverty line.
  • Median household income from 2013-2017 was $58,314.

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Kelly Puente is a general assignment and special projects reporter at the Long Beach Post. Her prolific reporting has taken her all over Southern California—even to the small Catalina Island town of Two Harbors. She is a Tiki mug collector and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Cal State Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected].