Before the 2020 census opens for online responses in March, local officials are making an effort to reach the Valley’s Latino community.
According to estimates from a 2017 census survey, almost a quarter of people in the Roaring Fork Valley said they were Hispanic or Latino. That study shows 28% of the population in Garfield County as Hispanic or Latino, 30% in Eagle County and 10% in Pitkin County.
Samuel Bernal runs the Spanish-language radio station La Tricolor, has been helping advise local census leaders about how to reach the area’s Latino community, as well as spread the word to within it. He says many of those people have doubts and hesitations about what might happen if they share personal records with the government.
“A lot of our community is afraid,” Bernal said, “especially when they don't have documents, that they could be a target if they share information about who's living their houses and if they are documented or not.”
Bernal has been telling people to respond to the survey honestly, as accurate data will help determine the allocation of government resources and funds to the area.
“Yesterday I was talking with a business owner and asking if she was going to participate in the census,” Bernal said. “She told me that she was not going to because she was not a citizen yet. So I explained to her that it doesn't matter if she is a citizen. She can participate in answering questions.”
More information about the upcoming census can be found on a website for the “Aspen to Parachute” census effort.