Oakland edges Richmond in Census challenge, but really both cities win

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East Bay ‘Battle of the Mayors’ aims to garner Census responses
Richmond Mayor Tom Butt (left) and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. (Photos courtesy of the mayor's offices for both cities)

Oakland may have edged Richmond in a friendly competition to see which city could get more residents to complete the 2020 Census. But in the end, both cities won.

Oakland ended the challenge with a self-response rate of 71.2 percent — .3 percent higher than Richmond’s. Both cities can say their self-response rates were higher than they were in 2010. Richmond’s self-response rate of 70.9 percent beats its 2010 self-response rate by 3.4 points, officials said.

Ensuring residents are counted in the decennial U.S. Census is important, as the federal government uses the data to determine how to allocate federal funding to jurisdictions. Federal dollars help fund critical services like hospitals and clinics, school lunches, road repair and more.

“While I certainly wish Richmond would have come out on top, I am very grateful to the staff, volunteers and residents that poured their heart out to get everyone counted in order to secure necessary funding and representation in Congress,” Richmond Mayor Tom Butt said.

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