Accuracy Is Crucial in Census Count, Ong Says

Paul Ong, director of the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge at UCLA Luskin, spoke about the importance of accurate census data in guiding how we build cities and communities on the new podcast 2020 Counts. “The census allows us to understand who we are, how we live, where we live,” Ong said. A reliable count is key to understanding issues and inequities that shape policies, interventions and funding priorities — including new investments in public transit and infrastructure that will be in place decades into the future, he said. Ong cautioned that several groups are at risk of being undercounted. “If you are a renter, if you don’t speak English, if you are overly burdened with other aspects of life so you don’t have time or opportunity to fill out that census form, or you feel alienated from the government and society, or are fearful — all these are factors that lead to a lower probability of participating that has a rippling effect,” he said. Ong’s comments begin at the 23:30-minute mark.

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