What is the role of the Office of Community & Civic Life?
Everyone in our city matters. We want everyone to count.
In coordination with other bureaus and agencies, the Office of Community & Civic Life is committed to ensuring that we have a complete community count in order to ensure that we have tools to more meaningfully connect our communities to each other and to decisions that shape all our lives.
Individuals in some communities are often excluded from the census—children, people of color, immigrants, people experiencing houselessness, and others. Those often “undercounted” by the census are often the ones historically excluded from public decision-making, equitable economic opportunities, and access to basic resources. Civic Life will work in concert with community and agency partners to reach what the US Census Bureau refers to as “hard-to-count” populations.
The overall response rate for Portland in the 2010 Census ranged between 80-83%. That is, one in five Portlanders were not counted. Experts estimate Oregon left $1 billion annually in federal funds on the table due to this undercount.
Civic Life requested and City Council approved $600,000 in the FY 18/19 and 19/20 budgets to increase the “hard-to-count” return. We will be collaborating with the Census Equity Funders Committee of Oregon to develop a coordinated and aligned strategy led by these communities to do this important work in the coming year.