It’s coming. One year from today the government will be reaching out to ask you some personal questions for the 2020 census. 

In preparation for the count, Kern County stakeholders have launched “I Count,” a campaign to encourage everyone in our community to participate in the census.

The census determines how those federal funds will be distributed over the next 10 years, that is why it is critical that everyone is counted. Especially kids, who are often forgotten.

“The last census over a million of them weren’t counted nationally and California had one of the biggest populations of kids not counted,” said Kevin Bartl, communications specialist at First Five Kern.

Other than kids, hard to count populations include homeless, renters, households with limited internet access and immigrant populations due to language barriers or fear. Adding to that,  for the 2020 census, the Trump Administrations wants to add a citizenship status question. 

The Supreme Court is set to rule on whether the question will be included or not. Arguments are scheduled April 23. But no matter which way the high court rules, versions of the form with and without the question have already been printed.

In the meantime, the census bureau wants to remind everyone their data will be secure.

“The census questionnaire, all information provided is maintained confidential,” said Benita Duran, partnership specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau. “The census bureau is not a reporting arm of any agency. We are not affiliated with homeland security, we’re not affiliated with any agency, we are just statistics.”

For the first time, the 2020 census will allow households to respond online and over the phone. But paper forms will still be available. And, even though census day is April 1, 2020, the census officially begins on January 21 and most households can start participating around mid-march.