Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau attempts to count every person in the United States. An accurate count is one in which every person is counted only once and in the right location. The next count, or enumeration, will be this coming spring on April 1, 2020 and will be the first to rely heavily on online responses.

The most persistent and pervasive issue to the completion of a complete U.S. Census Bureau count is the under count of certain population groups. That challenge is greater in California, where more residents are considered traditionally hard to count, such as foreign-born residents, low-income residents at or near the poverty line, renters and children younger than 5 years old.

Yet, a complete and accurate count of California’s population is essential to determine how billions of federal dollars are allocated to state and local governments. The number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, which is used to distribute federal funds, is determined by the census count. In other words, the Census count impacts everyone’s way of life.

That is why California has launched a statewide effort to ensure an accurate and complete count in the 2020 Census that focuses on the hardest-to-count residents. Working through local governments, Tribal Governments, community-based organizations and media, the state is funding work that dovetails with national U.S. Census Bureau efforts.

A portion of the outreach focus is on higher education, and specifically California community college students. The California Community Colleges serve 1.8 million students, many of whom are from hard to count communities.

To help in this effort to get students and their families to submit their information and be counted, the Chancellor’s Office and Foundation for California Community Colleges are boosting the state’s efforts. These efforts will include Census messaging to colleges and students through various channels including statewide awareness campaign outreach and added leveraging existing partnerships, networks and digital and online resources such as websites and social media.

visit the Census website, where resources and information are available in 13 languages. Please share this information and connect with your local partners to help encourage students and families them to participate in the Census 2020 and be counted. Because every voice counts.