Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is California Neighborhoods Count study?

    California Neighborhoods Count is a research study funded by the State of California that aims to get population counts in communities throughout the state. You may have responded to the federal census. This study will provide similar information for the state. The information from this study will be used by the state to make better decisions about neighborhoods like yours, and will help in planning and in making funding decisions for services and infrastructure—including funding for healthcare, housing, schools, senior centers, public safety, and roads all across the state. Information from this study will also help us assess the success of the 2020 Census in California.

  • Who is doing this study?

    The study is being conducted by the RAND Corporation in collaboration with the State of California’s Demographic Research Unit. RAND is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization based in Santa Monica, CA that conducts research on a range of issues including healthcare, education, labor and retirement, immigration, the environment, and other important public policy issues. For more information about RAND, please go to

  • Who is funding this study?

    This study is funded by the State of California and has been approved by the Governor’s Office and by the California legislature.

  • What is the purpose of this study?

    The purpose of the California Neighborhoods Count study is to gather information that will be used to paint a statistical portrait of different California communities and neighborhoods. This study will provide the State with population counts that will be used in planning and in making important decisions about how to allocate funding for services and infrastructure all across the state (including funding for healthcare, schools, senior centers, public safety, and roads). Finally, this study will also help the State assess the success of the 2020 Census in California.

  • How was my household selected for this study?

    Your household was selected for this study because you live in one of the neighborhoods that was randomly selected for this study. All of the residential housing units in the selected blocks will be asked to participate in this study.

  • Is this the same thing as the Census?

    No, California Neighborhoods Count looks similar, but it is a different survey. The Census will provide information to the federal government as mandated by law. California Neighborhoods Count will provide information to the State of California. Both surveys are used to determine resource funding decisions and planning. Please fill out both.

  • What will I be asked to do?

    The California Neighborhoods Count study has two phases. In the first phase, RAND data collectors will come to your neighborhood to do a complete listing of all residential housing units in selected blocks. In the second phase, RAND will invite you and all the other residents on your block to take part in a brief survey that includes questions about your neighborhood, your household, and whether you participated in the 2020 Census. The survey is available in many languages and may be completed via the Web, by phone, by mail, or in person with a RAND data collector. You can choose how to complete the survey.

    Please note that RAND data collectors have been carefully selected and trained and have all passed extensive background checks. They will be wearing a vest with the project name and will carry an identification badge. They are not selling anything.

  • How long will the survey take?

    On average, the survey will take less than 15 minutes.

  • Why should I participate?

    This is an opportunity to be in an important study that will provide critical information to the State of California that will be used for planning and budgeting for all areas of the state including in your community. Your household’s participation in this study will also provide information that the State will use to describe neighborhoods throughout California and will help us assess the success of the 2020 Census in California.

  • I am not a U.S. citizen. Should I participate?

    Yes, we hope you will participate. Our intent is to survey all residents in your neighborhood, regardless of their immigration status. There will be no questions on the survey about immigration.

  • What do I get for participating?

    To thank you for completing the survey, you will receive a payment of $10.

  • Do I have to participate in this study?

    No. Taking part in this study is completely voluntary. You may refuse to answer any question you don’t want to answer. Nothing will happen to you if you decide not to take part in this study.

  • Who will get the results of this study?

    The results from the study will be shared with the State of California’s Demographic Research Unit and will be presented to the Governor’s Office, the State legislature, your local government, and others who are interested in improving California’s neighborhoods and communities and in evaluating the success of the 2020 Census. We will also report results from the study in professional journals.

  • What happens to the information I give you?

    We will combine your answers to the survey with those of other households that are taking part in the study. We will report the results in terms of summaries and general statistics. We will use this information for research purposes only.

  • Is the information you collect from me confidential?

    Yes! We respect your privacy. All information collected as part of this study will only be used for research purposes and will not be used by any federal, state, or city government agency or court in any way that could harm study participants. Names, addresses, and any other identifying information are kept completely confidential, and all reports will be written in summary or statistical form.

    There is one exception to confidentiality: if we observe or you tell us about the abuse or neglect of a child, elderly person or other dependent adult, about domestic violence, or if you tell us that you intend to harm yourself or another person, the interviewer must report this to his or her supervisor, who may report it to the appropriate authorities.

    We will not reveal your identity unless you or your legally authorized representative consent in writing.

  • Are data collectors taking precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus?

    Yes. Our primary goal is to keep you, your family members, and our data collectors safe. All data collectors will be wearing a face mask/face shield and gloves. They will use a tissue to ring doorbells and will maintain a distance of 6 feet when speaking to residents.

  • What if I have questions?

    If you have any questions or concerns about this study, you may contact the Survey Director, Beverly Weidmer at 1-800-734-5399 or via email at

    If you have any questions about your rights as a participant in this research study, please contact the RAND Human Subjects Protection Committee at the RAND Corporation, 1776 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138 or by phone at (866) 697-5620.