Census Workers Starting Online

Aug 12, 2020



Residents: How to Identify Census Workers and Avoid Scams


(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) – Beginning this week, households in Santa Barbara County that have not responded to the 2020 Census will receive visits from U.S. Census workers to assist them in completing the census questionnaire.

Local census officials remind residents that they can avoid these visits by responding now by phone, mail, or online. They also offer tips on how to identify legitimate census workers and avoid scams.

More than half of the nation’s households (63.3 percent) have already responded to the census. California is at 64.7 percent, and Santa Barbara County’s response rate is higher, nearer to two-thirds of households, at 67.6 percent, as of August 10, 2020.  

“You might be nervous about opening your door to a stranger, especially during the current COVID pandemic. Go ahead and respond online or by phone, which saves a census worker visit to your home,” said Joni Maiden, co-chair of the Santa Barbara County Census 2020 Complete Count Committee.

Self-response is available online at www.my2020census.gov or by phone at (844) 330-2020 (English) or (844) 268-2020 (Spanish). Those who have already received a paper questionnaire can complete and return it in the envelope provided. Web pages and guides are available in 59 non-English languages, including American Sign Language, as well as braille and large print.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadline for response to the U.S. Census has been extended to September 30, 2020. The Census Bureau will announce any additional adjustments, should they become necessary.

How to Identify Census Workers

Census workers, who are hired locally, all have a census ID and briefcase with the census logo, and wear a protective mask and gloves. Their ID can be verified online at www.census.gov/cgi-bin/main/email.cgi.

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Census workers ask for the number of people who lived in the home on April 1, 2020, and whether the home is owned or rented. They gather demographic information about each resident, including gender, race, age, ethnic group, and relationship status.

“Census workers will not ask you to step outside your home or try to enter your home. If you have any doubts whatsoever, ask them to wait outside and confirm their identity on the census website,” adds Maiden.

Signs of a scam include if someone asks for social security, banking or credit card numbers, or if they ask for money or donations to a political party. They may also attempt contact by phone or mail, or give out phony websites.

“These are ways they can steal identities, money, or possessions. Scammers may even threaten you with arrest if you don’t provide that information. The census is required by law, but you cannot be arrested,” said Maiden.

Why the Census Matters in Santa Barbara County

Federal funding for the county goes down by $2,000 per year for 10 years for each individual uncounted. That means an undercount of just 5 percent equals a loss of $430 million over the next decade.

“An undercount means less funding for exactly the kind of programs and infrastructure that we will need to recover from the current COVID crisis,” says Maiden. “Census data are also used to fund like the National School Lunch, for example, which is critically important in many parts of our county.”

For information, visit www.SantaBarbaraCountyCensus.org, follow Santa Barbara County Census on Twitter and Facebook @CensusSBC, or e-mail [email protected].

Local Census Response Rates by City

The Census Self-Response Tracker is at https://2020census.gov/en/response-rates. Response rates in Santa Barbara County, as of August 10, 2020 are:

  • Buellton (69.9%)
  • Carpinteria (67.3%)
  • Goleta (72.8%)
  • Guadalupe (62.4%)
  • Lompoc (67.9%)
  • Santa Barbara (68.9%)
  • Santa Maria (62.9%)
  • Solvang (71.6%) 




The Santa Barbara County Census 2020 Complete Count Committee has launched a local outreach campaign entitled, “We all Count. Todos Contamos.” to provide the public access to local resources and information about the census in English and Spanish. It is comprised of city, county and state governments, community-based organizations, education, and more.

 Visit www.SantaBarbaraCountyCensus.org.

News Media Contact:
Julia McHugh, APR, [email protected], 805-569-3303, 805-708-1006 (cell)

B-roll available: https://youtu.be/k8wH2bjru5g

Posted in Featured Articles.