Census 2020 Funding FAQs

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

    • 11/30/18 – Tribal Grants Funding 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 a grant 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.


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.


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 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 ACBOs 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?

  • Two separate ACBO Requests for Proposal (RFP), regional and statewide, will be released on Dec. 14, 2018, with proposals due Jan. 31, 2019.
  • The ACBO funding timeline is as follows:
    • 12/14/18 – State releases regional and statewide ACBO RFP
    • 1/31/19 – Deadline for ACBOs to respond to RFP
    • 3/15/19 – State issues notification of awards for ACBOs
    • 5/15/19 – ACBOs file Strategic Plan
    • 7/1/19 – ACBOs file first Quarterly Report
    • 9/1/19 – ACBOs file second Quarterly Report
    • 10/30/19 – ACBOs file Implementation Plan
    • 2/15/20 – ACBOs file Nonresponse Follow Up Implementation Plan
    • 2/30/20 – 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 ACBOs 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
  • 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.