SAN DIEGO — Inside the Jackie Robinson YMCA, dozens of 2020 census workers gathered for a training event focused on ensuring no matter who or where you are in San Diego, you count in the 2020 census.
David Bennett with the U.S. Census Bureau said the challenge will not only be locating, but convincing everyone to take part.
"It takes a community to count a community and so we need trusted voices to help out," said Bennett.
The census, done every 10 years, is crucial in determining how many Congress members each state gets, as well as how the federal government divvies up $675 billion. That's funding that's used for a variety of programs and projects.
"Medicare, Medicaid, after school lunch programs, health centers, infrastructure, [and] roads," said Bennett.
For the first time ever, people can complete the census online. Flyers will be mailed out this week telling you how. You can still respond by mail or phone.
Counting ends in July. Between now and then, expect to see census workers at your door or at community events.
A coalition called "Count Me 2020" has been formed to connect workers with groups already integrated in so-called "hard to count" communities, such as where immigrants, refugees, and the homeless live.
Census coordinator Jessica Ramirez is in charge of hitting the Latino community in North County.
"We're hoping that through consistent messaging and seeing us out in the community, that will help foster participation," said Ramirez.
Some are scared to take part in the census given their immigration status, even though there are no questions about citizenship, and personal information can't be shared.
"Your information is kept private," said Bennett. "Probably, you're sharing more information with Amazon and Facebook than you are with the census."
Another challenge is finding enough census workers. Additional funding has been allocated this year to hire more people to do the job. If you're interested in applying, click here.