Census 2020 Funding FAQs

Updated on 12/19/18. See — NEW!

The U.S. Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau counts each resident of the country, where they live on April 1, every decade. The Constitution mandates the enumeration to determine how to apportion the House of Representatives among the states and to distribute billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities. More than 70 federal programs that benefit California, including education, health, and transportation, use Census numbers as part of their funding formulas.

California Complete Count

California Complete Count – Census 2020 is a statewide outreach and awareness campaign designed to ensure the federal government collects an accurate and complete count of all California residents in the upcoming U.S. Census 2020. California’s Census efforts are designed to supplement the U.S. Census Bureau’s outreach campaign and, through collaboration, avoid duplication of work.

California Census Funding

State leaders have made a significant commitment to California’s outreach and communication efforts in support of the U.S. Census 2020 by investing $90.3 million toward strategies and activities that will help ensure an accurate and successful count of all Californians.

What is California Complete Count – Census 2020 funding approach?

  • The Census 2020 funding approach is an aggressive strategy aimed at countering federal-related challenges and potential disinformation campaigns through a statewide community-engagement campaign in hard-to-count communities that rely on frequent impressions. This approach will enable effective outreach to ensure that every California resident participates in the U.S. Census 2020.
  • State funds will be strategically allocated to counties, community-based organizations, Tribal Governments and media outreach and education.

How much of the funding will go to local communities?

  • More than two-thirds of the State’s program funding, approximately $61 million, will be allocated to statewide and regional awareness campaigns through counties, Tribal Governments, community-based organizations, and school funding.

How will the state allocate the local community funding?

  • One-third of the total funding, approximately $30 million, will be allocated for local governments such as counties or Tribal Governments, along with associated programmatic costs.
    Another third of the funding, approximately $30 million, will be allocated for community-based organizations and associated state programmatic costs.

How will the state allocate media and communications funding?

  • Twenty percent of the total funding, approximately $17.5 million, will be allocated to media with a very strong emphasis on ethnic media.

Why will the funding be distributed in this way?

  • The funding will be distributed to effectively maximize resources on the ground, which will allow for rapid response and collaboration. This approach allows the State to focus resources in hard-to-count communities, build a base of trusted messengers, break down language access barriers for non-English speakers, and facilitate culturally appropriate engagement within communities to ensure all Californians are counted.

Where can I download and view solicitations and funding documents (i.e. Request for Proposal (RFP), bid documents, etc.)?

  • Solicitations and other related documents including requirements and key action dates are available at www.caleprocure.ca.gov. The Census Office recommends registering and subscribing to both CaleProcure and the Census webpage at www.census.ca.gov to receive notification of solicitation releases and other pertinent information announcing contracting opportunities to the public.
  • In addition, documents describing the State’s funding methodology, solicitation documents, and resources will be posted on the state census website: census.ca.gov.

Where can I view the hard-to-count (HTC) map of California?

  • The map available at the following link shows California’s hardest to count Census tracts and block groups based on the California Hard-to-Count Index Interactive Map: census.ca.gov.

Tribal Governments

How will Tribal Governments be awarded funding?

  • Tribal Governments will be awarded state funding agreements to conduct Census outreach activities in their geographical service areas.

How much funding will be available to Tribal Governments?

  • The State has established the following funding tiers based on housing units (HU):
    • Less than 25 HU = $0
    • 25 to 49 HU = $1,000
    • 50 to 99 HU = $2,500
    • 100 to 249 HU = $5,000
    • 250 to 9,999 HU = $10,000
    • More than 10,000 HU = $50,000

What is the timeline for Tribal Government funding?

  • Tribal funding agreement letters will be distributed Nov. 30, 2018, and tribes will be given 60 days to accept their funding agreement allocation.
    The Tribal funding timeline is as follows:

    • 11/30/18 – Tribal funding agreement letters distributed
    • 2/1/19 – Deadline to request Tribal funding
    • 12/30/20 – Deadline for Tribal Governments to submit their Final Reports

Are there restrictions for how the funds can be used?

  • Funding must be utilized for Census outreach efforts within Tribal communities, and Tribal Governments will be required to provide outreach plans for state approval.

What happens if a Tribe does not receive funding and how will Tribal members who live outside of a Tribe’s service area be reached?

  • The State will work with community-based organizations to reach Tribal populations outside of Tribal service areas, specifically targeting American Indian and Alaska Native individuals through statewide community-based organization outreach efforts.


Most counties do not have third-party commercial insurance, will the State of California accept evidence of self-insurance as an alternative? — NEW!

  • Yes, the State will accept evidence of self-insurance as an alternative. Please submit proof of evidence of self-insurance for the State to consider.

How long after accepting the funding does the strategic plan need to be submitted? The State’s agreement language requires county strategic plans within 60 days of entering into contract. Does this mean 60 business or 60 calendar days? — NEW! 

  • Counties will have at least 60 calendar days from contract execution to provide a strategic plan. Although we did not clearly define calendar or business days, it’s in the State’s best interest to allow adequate time to submit strategic plans. If additional time is required, please notify our office. The State does not intend to disqualify counties from participating due to time constraints for completing a comprehensive strategic plan. Once your County’s board resolution is received, the Census Office will assign a regional program manager (RPM) that will work with your office on planning and timelines.

How will county contracts be awarded?

  • Individual counties must opt-in, provide a board resolution, establish a Local Complete Count Committee, and submit a plan for state approval to receive the allocated funding.
    No counties will be excluded from accessing a Census award contract.

How much funding will be available to counties?

  • Allocations for most counties are based on the number of residents who live in California’s hardest-to-count census tracts within their jurisdictions.
  • For some counties, allocations reflect population-based minimums, ensuring that all corners of the state are reached and that all counties have an opportunity to conduct outreach within their geographical boundaries:
    • Less than 25,000 population = $25,000
    • 25,000 to 49,999 population = $50,000
    • 50,000 to 99,999 population = $75,000
    • More than 100,000 population = $100,000

What are the county requirements?

  • An overview of participating county requirements is as follows:
    • Board Resolution
    • Strategic Plan
    • Regular monthly and quarterly meetings with the State Regional Program Manager (RPM) assigned to each county
    • Quarterly Reporting
    • Implementation Plan (Including non-response follow-up)
    • Final Report

What is the timeline for county funding?

  • County funding letters will go out Nov. 9, 2018, and counties will be given 90 days to accept their award allocation.
  • The county funding timeline is as follows:
    • 11/9/18 – State sends letters to counties to opt in or out of state Census funding
    • 2/9/19 – Deadline for counties to opt out or opt in with a board resolution
    • 3/19 – Counties submit Strategic Plan
    • 4/1/19 – Counties file first Quarterly Report
    • 7/1/19 – Counties file second Quarterly Report
    • 9/30/19 – Counties file Implementation Plan
    • 2/15/20 – Counties file Nonresponse Follow Up (NRFU) Implementation Plan
    • 12/30/20 – Counties file Final Report

How will counties receive funds?

  • The State will enter into an agreement with each participating county, and funding to counties will be provided in progress increments based on deliverables defined in those agreements.

Are counties mandated to participate?

  • The State encourages all counties to participate in statewide outreach efforts, but they are not mandated to do so.

What happens to unclaimed county funds?

  • Should a county choose not to participate, the State will reach out to a government entity with the administrative capacity and experience to conduct robust outreach in that county. Those entities could include large cities or regional councils of governments (COG). Should counties, cities or COGs choose not to participate, the State would then reach out to qualified community-based organizations.

Are there limitations on counties subcontracting their outreach services?

  • There are no limitations. Counties may partner with cities, community-based organizations, or other counties.
    Should counties partner, each county will have their own agreement and requirements.

How will counties coordinate with the State?

  • Each county will be assigned to a state Regional Program Manager (RPM), who will coordinate state and county efforts.
    Counties will be required to submit a strategic plan to the state, which will outline their collaboration efforts.


Counties/Administrative Community-Based Organizations and Community-Based Organizations

Are there example strategic plans available? — NEW!

  • The CCC Office has not provided example strategic plans because each contractor is encouraged to submit unique strategic plans based on factors unique to each contractor and/or population and area.

What will the accountability measure be for the funds at a state level? — NEW!

  • Each type of contract has accountability measures built in. They are different for each contract. Counties, ACBOs and CBOs will be expected to prepare quarterly reports and a final report.

For what types of activities can California-based nonprofits request funding from counties? — NEW!

  • We are encouraging partnerships between counties and CBOs. We are not limiting what activities are included in their strategic plans. — NEW!


Why isn’t the State allocating money directly to cities?

  • In order to keep administrative costs at a minimum, maximize dollars distributed to local communities, and force collaboration and coordination between governmental entities, the State decided to use the counties as fiscal agents for pass-through money targeting hard-to-count populations residing within city limits.

Are counties required to share funding with the cities?

  • The Strategic Plan that each funded county submits to the State is required to include a coordination plan that shall describe how the county will work with cities, nonprofits and other partners within their geographic jurisdiction.
  • Cities are encouraged to form their own Local Complete Count Committee and collaborate with their county Local Complete Count Committee.

How do counties determine how much money to dedicate to cities?

  • The State will make data available to counties on hard-to-count populations within their jurisdictions, both within cities and within unincorporated areas.
    This data will assist counties in their efforts to share funding with their city partners.

How is the state ensuring that counties collaborate with their cities?

  • Counties must document how they will collaborate and coordinate with cities before they can receive funding from the State. The State’s Regional Program Managers will review counties’ strategic and implementation plans, ensuring the plans include details of this collaboration and coordination between counties and cities.

Administrative Community-Based Organizations and Community-Based Organizations

How is an ACBO defined? — NEW!

  • Large community-based organizations with administrative capacity and experience.

In reviewing the CBO reporting requirements, has there been consideration to the challenges this will bring to small community organizations? — NEW!

  • The CCC Office anticipates contracting with larger Administrative CBOs (ACBOs) that have the administrative capacity to act as the prime contractor for each region and sector awarded. The ACBOs are encouraged to subcontract with smaller CBOs. The prime contractor for each region and/or sector will be required to adhere to the reporting requirements in each contract.

Will ACBO funding be provided in grants or contracts? — NEW!

  • ACBO funding will be awarded with contracts, not grants. See ACBO funding methodology at https://census.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2018/11/Program-Funding-Overview.pdf

How will the money be distributed within each region, when each region has multiple counties? — NEW!

  • ACBOs will include their funding approach in their strategic plan.

Are there specific requirements for joint proposals? — NEW!

  • See RFP at https://census.ca.gov/2018/12/14/request-for-proposals-regional-administrative-community-based-organizations/

Can a CBO serve as an ACBO in multiple regions? — NEW!

  • Yes.

Can a CBO be funded in multiple counties? — NEW!

  • Yes.

Will CBOs targeting communities broadly captured by statewide CBOs be able to access regional ACBO funds? — NEW!

  • Yes.

Can a CBO without independent 501(c)(3) status working through a fiscal sponsor serve as a statewide CBO or regional ACBO?  — NEW!

  • ACBOs are required to have 501(c)(3) designation.

Will grant recipients be able to amend deliverables or project budget if they run into challenges as the year progresses? — NEW!

  • All state funding will be distributed via contracts, not grants. Deliverables will not be amended, however, if you look at County deliverables, it is our intent that the strategic plan submitted early in 2019 will be updated and informed by their work as they draft their final implementation plans.

Will CBOs receiving funds from a statewide CBO or regional ACBO be able to re-grant those funds? — NEW!

  • Yes. There are some subcontracting limitations that are outlined in the RFP.

Will the state require CBOS/ACBOs to use formulas to determine the amounts allocated to targeted hard-to-count populations? — NEW!

  • Yes, we expect CBOs/ACBOs to use SwORD to determine their HTC targets.

When reporting quantitative data, what types of supporting documentation will CBOs/ACBOs or counties need to submit as part of the reporting requirements? — NEW!

  • CBOs/ACBOs will work with their assigned RPM and the Outreach team. Reporting requirements will be developed and included in monthly reports as well as the final implementation plan.

Once state CBOs and regional ACBOs are identified, will they or the county be making the final decision regarding the distribution of funds to CBOs? — NEW!

  • It will be done collectively, and coordination will be required between counties, regional ACBOs and state CBOs.

Does the RFP response require funding programs and partnerships to already be in place at the time of application? — NEW!

  • No.

When is the deadline for counties to distribute funds to cities? When is the deadline for ACBOs to distribute funds to CBOs? — NEW!

  • It depends on the county and ACBO, but both will be required to submit a funding timeline in their strategic plan.

How will ACBO funding be distributed within each region when each region has multiple counties? — NEW!

  • ACBOs will include their funding approach in their strategic plan.

For counties that do not accept their funding allocation, what is the timeline for the regional COG to claim it instead? — NEW!

  • This will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

For what types of activities can California-based nonprofits request funding from counties?  — NEW!

  • We are encouraging partnerships between CBOs and counties. We are not limiting what activities are included in their strategic plans.

Are there any shared resources that the state will be providing? — NEW!

  • The state will provide access to SwORD and best practice toolkits, which will be available on our census site.

How will administrative community-based organization (ACBO) and community-based organization (CBO) funding be awarded?

  • State funding will be awarded primarily to ACBOs, which are large CBOs or foundations with the administrative capacity and experience to conduct robust outreach throughout an entire region.
  • This funding will be distributed both regionally and statewide. Each of California’s 10 regions will be eligible for funding amounts based on their hard-to-count populations. Funding will also be awarded to CBOs that focus on specific populations statewide such as, but not limited to, the homeless, children younger than 5, African Americans and Asian Pacific Islanders.

What is the timeline for ACBO funding?

  • The ACBO funding timeline is as follows:
    • 12/14/18 – State releases regional ACBO RFP
    • 01/04/19 – State releases statewide CBO RFP
    • 01/31/19 – Deadline for ACBOs to respond to regional ACBO RFP
    • 02/21/19 – Deadline for ACBOs to respond to statewide CBO RFP
    • 03/19 – State issues notification of awards for regional and statewide ACBOs
    • 05/15/19 – CBOs/ACBOs file Strategic Plan
    • 07/1/19 – CBOs/ACBOs file first Quarterly Report
    • 09/1/19 – CBOs/ACBOs file second Quarterly Report
    • 10/30/19 – CBOs/ACBOs file Implementation Plan
    • 02/15/20 – CBOs/ACBOs file Nonresponse Follow Up Implementation Plan
    • 02/30/20 – CBOs/ACBOs file Final Report

What are the regions in California?

  • Region 1: Siskiyou, Modoc, Shasta, Lassen, Tehama, Plumas, Glenn, Butte, Sierra, Colusa, Yuba, Nevada, Placer, Yolo, El Dorado, Sacramento, Sutter
  • Region 2: Del Norte, Humboldt, Trinity, Mendocino, Lake, Sonoma, Napa
  • Region 3: Marin, Solano, Contra Costa, San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara
  • Region 4: San Joaquin, Amador, Alpine, Calaveras, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Mono, Mariposa, Merced, Madera
  • Region 5: San Benito, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Santa Cruz
  • Region 6: Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Inyo, Kern
  • Region 7: San Bernardino, Riverside
  • Region 8: Los Angeles
  • Region 9: Orange
  • Region 10: San Diego, Imperial

What factors informed development of the regions?

  • The State established regions based on hard-to-count populations, geographic similarities, like-mindedness of counties, capacity of ACBOs and CBOs within the counties and state Census staff workload capabilities.

What populations will the CBOs that receive statewide funding focus on?

  • Latinos
  • African Americans
  • Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders
  • Native Americans and Tribal
  • Middle Eastern/Northern Africans
  • Immigrants and Refugees
  • Farmworkers
  • People with Disabilities
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer or Questioning (LGBTQ)
  • Areas with low broadband subscription rates or low/no access to broadband
  • Homeless Individuals and Families/Nonconventional Housing
  • Veterans
  • Seniors/Older Adults
  • Children 0-5
  • Households with Limited English Proficiency
  • Technical Assistance for Statewide Outreach and Rapid Deployment (SwORD)

What are the ACBO requirements?

  • In accordance with state contracting procedures, specific requirements will be released on the aforementioned dates.

Can CBOs partner to put together a proposal?

  • Nothing precludes CBOs from partnering on a proposal for a single region or from applying for contracts to work in multiple regions. Each region would require a separate bid proposal. CBOs that partner must have the capacity to cover all geographic areas within a region.

How do small CBOs that don’t have capacity to cover an entire region apply for funding?

  • Small CBOs that are trusted messengers within a certain community or populations should apply to the administrative community-based organizations in their region.

Paid Media

How will the State invest its paid media funding?

  • The State will prioritize its spending on local ethnic media outlets that specialize in reaching hard-to-count populations. The state will also coordinate with the U.S. Census Bureau, funding a broader media campaign that covers gaps identified in federal campaign efforts in California.

What is the timeline for paid media funding?

  • The paid media funding timeline is as follows:
    • 1/19 – State releases Media Request for Proposal (RFP)
    • 3/19 – Deadline for media to respond to RFP
    • 5/19 – Notification of awards for media
    • 6/19 – State begins contract payments based on deliverables
    • 9/19 – Media contractor(s) file first Quarterly Report
    • 12/19 – Media contractor(s) file second Quarterly Report
    • 3/20 – Media contractor(s) file third Quarterly Report
    • 9/20 – Media contractor(s) file Final Report

Will partnerships be a part of the media outreach plan?

  • Paid media contractors are encouraged to develop partnerships with local and ethnic media to ensure language and cultural competency and identity the most effective trusted messengers for hard-to-count communities.

Will message testing be required?

  • More information on specific requirements of the State’s media contract will be shared in January 2019.

Are Community-Based Organizations and Counties allowed to fund their own media campaign?

  • Paid media should be included in strategic plans submitted by counties and community-based organizations to the state, and tactics will be coordinated to ensure efforts are not duplicated.


Please note, all timelines are subject to change at the State’s sole discretion. The State will continually update these questions and answers.