Costa Releases Report Highlighting Dire Costs of a Census Undercount 16th Congressional District

Sep 11, 2020
Press Release

(FRESNO) Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) released a new report this week which details how an undercount of the 2020 Census would be detrimental to residents of his 16th Congressional District, resulting in the loss of millions of dollars in federal funding for vital programs that benefit children and job seekers:  

“This new report makes it clear, a complete Census count is essential for our district,” said Costa. “This year’s Census comes at an unprecedented time.  As we face a public health crisis and global economic downturn, it’s crucial for our community to secure the funding we are entitled to for critical services like education, medical care, and job programs. To ensure we have the resources we need for the next decade, every person in our district must be counted."

The Census is used to distribute over $1.5 trillion in federal funding to Congressional districts across the country for critical services such as education, medical care, roads, public transit and job programs. The report details that just a 1% undercount alone in the 2020 Census, residents of the 16th District of California, which includes areas in Fresno and Madera Counties and all of Merced County, could lose:

  • $723,000 in federal funding for schools with a high proportion of low-income students, or the equivalent of all the textbooks that 2,894 students would need in a school year, and;
  • $345,000 in federal funding for job training centers and career counseling.

Current Census numbers show the 16th Congressional District sits at 62.9% of the total population counted thus far, a 2.9% decrease from 2010. If that rate stays the same, the resulting loss in funding would total more than $3 million dollars for the district.

“Getting the census right for our community is very important, said Dr. Steve Tietjen, Merced County Superintendent of Schools. “The potential loss of federal support for education in our county will really hurt our students.  We need everyone to complete their census reports so we receive our fair share of federal education dollars to support our kids. Taxpayers in California are already net contributors to the rest of the country when it comes to paying taxes. If we don’t get everyone counted, even more of our federal taxes will be spent outside of California.  Everyone needs to turn in their census forms so students in California get the support they deserve from Washington DC."

"Completing the census is a small investment of your time that’s a huge investment in our students,” said Manuel Bonilla, President of the Fresno Teachers Association. “Everyone should complete the census today, so our students have the resources they deserve to further their education." 

"In Fresno County we are at risk of being undercounted in the 2020 census which would mean less funding for job training programs in our community. Just a 1% undercount would mean over $300,000 less for programs that help our youth find their first job or give people a second chance at a career,” said Jeff Davis, Fresno EOC Employment and Training Director. “We need to have an accurate count so our communities can have the resources needed for training and economic development as census data also informs business investment, nonprofit funding, and industries looking to expand." 

Rep. Costa urges households in the district to fill out their Census forms now—in the comfort of their own homes—by going online at, calling 844-330-2020, or filling out the forms they received in the mail.  The 2020 Census has only 12 questions and does not ask about citizenship.

Click here to read the full report.