As Census Nears, Fresno’s Overlooked Homes Could Mean Millions Less In Aid

Mar 12, 2018

The 2020 U.S. census is just around the corner, and a new project shows a significant number of Fresno’s residents could be overlooked.

The U.S. Census Bureau maintains a Master Address File of every registered postal address in the country. Don’t have a registered address? You probably won’t be counted.

A new pilot project found 600 housing units in low-income areas of Fresno that weren't listed in the Master Address File—representing 6 percent of residences in those areas.

Cindy Quezada with the Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative oversaw the project, and she says those housing units were overlooked because they’re so-called unconventional households.

“There were mostly converted garages,” she says, “and then after that were apartment units in the back, like smaller homes, sheds, and just a few RVs and trailers.”

Accurate population counts help determine federal funding levels. Ed Kissam with the WKF Giving Fund, which funded the pilot, says undercounts, especially in low-income communities, could mean millions of dollars less in aid.

“In 2015, federal funding in California amounted to around $1900 per person,” says Kissam.

Local jurisdictions have four months from now to update their master address files.