On Sunday, the Carnaval parade in San Francisco’s Mission District brought together tens of thousands of individuals, most of whom who are members of ethnic minority groups. Dozens of Central American, South American, and Caribbean nationalities were represented. All of these people are classified as “hard to reach individuals” by the U.S. Census Bureau.
In addition to the elaborate floats that represented community organizations, schools, arts organizations, and more, government agencies like BART and government partners such as the Sunset Scavengers had their own floats. One organization that was noticeably absent from the parade was the United States Census Bureau.
For a government agency that always touts how many millions of dollars it will save for each household that returns Census forms on time (by Census Day, April 1, 2010), the Census Bureau’s outreach to self-proclaimed “hard to reach” groups has been sub-par.
Yes, the Census Bureau had a tiny stall staffed by two bilingual workers at Carnaval’s accompanying festival. However this stall was inadequate as only a fraction of the people who attended the parade walked past it, let alone stopped to speak with representatives.
Hopefully the Census Bureau will learn from this mistake and correct this problem for next year’s festivities, which fall after Census Day, but before all of the surveys are due back to the federal government.