MALDEF Western Regional Office

Approach to Census 2010 Complete Count -
Challenges and Opportunities

MALDEF is committed to making Census 2010 a successful count of Latinos in the United States and to enhance our sense of civic pride among our communities as we participate in the Census 2010.

Our approach for an effective 2010 Census campaign is to target the “hard-to-count” (HTC) areas of our region.¹ and based on a three-pronged strategy targeting designated “hard-to-count” counties, by:

  1. Accessing and partnering with grassroots entities (non-profit groups, community businesses, and faith-based organizations) that have the direct contact with hard-to-count populations;
  2. Partnering with grass top leaders to promote the 2010 Census and educate the community at the state and local levels; and
  3. Broadcasting bilingual promotional information (English and Spanish) via the radio and television and at large events.

We know that our biggest return on our efforts will be through collaborating with trusted groups and agencies that provide direct services to and have regular contact with hard-to-count families and individuals.


In the MALDEF Western Region, which includes Arizona, California, Nevada and Washington State, Latino communities are as large as they are diverse posing both great challenges and opportunities for the 2010 Census enumeration process. In California, Latino neighborhoods range from agricultural cities, such as Fresno and Bakersfield that attract large numbers of migrant farm workers, to the emerging Central-American and Southern Mexican enclaves that speak a multiplicity of indigenous languages in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Similar growth in Latino communities can be seen in cities like Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Diego, Tucson, in the South and Seattle to Spokane in the North. In our region, Los Angeles, Maricopa, San Diego, Fresno, Clark and San Bernardino counties are among the 20 counties with the highest number of people living in hard-to-count areas.

The four-state region has some of the most populated urban areas in the U.S, with an estimate of 13,097,657 Latinos. California alone accounts for one-third of all linguistically isolated hard-to-count tracts in the United States. Over a third of all Latinos living in Arizona, California, Nevada and Washington state—4.7 million—reside in Los Angeles, which not only has the largest Latino population in the nation, but is also regarded as the Undercounted Capitol of the United States! As a result of the 2000 Census undercount, Los Angeles County alone lost an estimated $600 million in federal funding from 2002 to 2012.

Population Profile of MALDEF Western Region States and Hard-to-Count Populations

Civic participation hampered by the lasting effects of Jim Crow policies and poverty.

Some facts about the region:

Education: California’s public schools can’t afford an undercount, especially of Latino children and students. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 50.7% of the 6.3 million students enrolled in a California public school are Latino. In addition, 51.1% of all the students enrolled in a California public school are eligible for free/reduced lunch.

Health: Meeting the health needs of every person living in the four-state region has become an increasing challenge with the ranks of the uninsured reaching 6.6 million in California. According to the California Healthcare Foundation, nearly 60% of the state's uninsured are Latino, and twenty-seven percent of families with incomes between $25,000 and $50,000 are uninsured.

In Arizona over 900,000 individuals have no insurance, in spite of the fact that 77 percent of uninsured Arizonans have at least one person in the family working full-time or part-time.* Source, click here.

Poverty: Whereas the national percentage of all families below the poverty line is 9.6%, the percentage for Latino families living below poverty line in each of our states is drastically higher. Ranging from 22% Latino families living below the poverty line to 14.2% of Latino families in Nevada, contributes to the challenge of ensuring a complete count in our Western region.

Source: American Fact Finder,

Housing: The biggest need in the Western region is housing affordability and one of the fundamental problems is the lack of housing supply compared to the Western population. In California, since the later 1980s, the housing supply has not been able to keep up with the population growth. In consequence, the disproportion of supply and demand has increase the price for housing over the last decade and made it very difficult for Latino families to afford a decent place to live. Even at this housing crisis due to the subprime mortgage market, most Latinos cannot afford moderate housing. The need of federal and state funding to compensate some of the cost of producing affordable housing is critical to fight problems such as overcrowding and improve the condition of housing and neighborhoods in Latino communities.

Because You Count, Get Counted!
!Cuéntate…Porque Tú Vales!

In March you will receive the Census 2010 questionnaire at your home. Forms will be available in English and in over 50 languages. They are easy to fill out and must be mailed back by April 1, 2010 (Census Day). Take this chance to make a difference for your family and your community!

  • January & Febuary: Census campaign in full gear.  Information on TV, Radio, and community events
  • March: Census forms are mailed or delivered to homes.
  • APRIL 1:  Census Day!
  • May, June & July: Census workers visit homes that did not mail in questionnaires.

Click here to download the Western Census Palm Card.

For more information or to find out how MALDEF and your organization can partner to count Latinos in your community, contact:

Lauren Perez-Rangel
634 S. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Tel.: 213-629-2512

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund