Case Study

Count Me 2020 Coalition

Census continues despite 'stay-at-home' order


The Count Me 2020 Coalition is a non-partisan group of more than 150 civic and community-based organizations from San Diego and Imperial Counties. Member organizations are committed to ensuring a complete and accurate count of the 14 "hard-to-count" populations identified by the State of California, and lifting the key barriers to Census participation.


Through earned media placements, encourage 2020 Census self-response among populations identified by the State of California as "hard-to-count." These are often people who are hardest hit economically by the COVID-19 pandemic, and also distrust the government. However, our region needs an accurate Census count to help nonprofits and governments plan for an uncertain future with an accurate picture of who lives in our region.


Scatena Daniels pivoted the original media outreach strategy, messaging, and cadence of the campaign. Through messaging and visuals, we show how COVID pandemic was a resounding reminder to ensure our communities have the federal, state, and local funding it needs to meet San Diego County health needs and community concerns. We used data provided by the client to determine where we needed to focus our media outreach efforts next, and how messages should be shaped. We connected with the CBOs to determine what they are doing that could attract media interest. All media interviews and placements featured trusted messengers from coalition member organizations. We also coached coalition members to take b-roll video, photos and conduct media interviews via Skype and Zoom.

Both San Diego and Imperial Counties increased their response rates above 2010. Nearly 74% of San Diego County households took the Census, a jump of nearly 6 percentage points from 2010. The city of San Diego ranked #2 among municipalities that have over 1M residents responding to the Census survey in the nation.

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