The previous Census was held in 2010. Credit: Photo courtesy Rashad al-Dabbagh

Orange County officials are getting ready for the U.S. Census next April, and are putting $1.5 million in state money into local outreach to get the word out.

Armed with a state grant, county supervisors approved an implementation plan Tuesday that includes hiring an outreach contractor to get more Census participation in “hard-to-count communities.”

“This is important we conduct an accurate Census. Every person not counted means we lose about $2,000 a year [in funding] for 10 years,” said Supervisor Doug Chaffee, just before he and other supervisors approved the plan.

That funding is “mostly for healthcare, mental health services, and education,” Chaffee said.

Officials invited outreach organizations to submit proposals as part of a competitive bidding process, and the winner is scheduled to be brought to county supervisors for approval by the end of this year.

Supervisor’s Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett also stressed the importance of counting everyone “because a lot of our funding is dependent upon our Census counts.”

Bartlett noted that many home-bound senior citizens live in the city of Laguna Woods, in her district, and asked to add a Census assistance center there.

The upcoming Census is next scheduled for April 1, 2020, and is mandated every 10 years by the U.S. Constitution. Every household is required to fill out a questionnaire about who is living there, and the resulting data is used to generate official population counts, determine legislative districts and how billions of dollars in funding is distributed.

Nick Gerda covers county government and Santa Ana for Voice of OC. You can contact him at

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