The U.S. Census Bureau is preparing to start asking residents in Tehachapi to provide information about themselves via the 24th Census collecting effort nationwide.

“We want to encourage everyone, regardless of legal status, to respond to the census. At the end of the day, the census impacts everyone,” said Leslie Valdivia, media specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau, Northern California, in an interview.

It not only counts the population, but also collects information about housing, age, home ownership, income levels, education level, the economy and transportation. The census officially starts April 1.

Census data helps determine how funding will be given to communities from billions of federal dollars.

“The census data is used to allocate funds for vital community programs for free lunches for schools, building new hospitals, new streets. ... That’s why it's really important to have an accurate count,” Valdivia said.

Everyone should participate.

Sometimes people are apprehensive about giving information out, but the Census is bound by law to protect each person’s information and keep it confidential. Title 13 of the U.S. Code ensures that private information is never shared by any government agency, be it with local police, ICE, or anyone else, said Valdivia.

People can provide information in a variety of ways.

In March, many households will begin receiving official mail from the Census and may respond by mail, phone or internet.

Some U.S. Census Bureau representatives may come by a person’s residence if they haven’t responded. The census takers will have a personal identification card issued from the Census, said Valdivia.

She added, “Our mission is to obtain an accurate count.”

The questionnaire will ask people about the count of the household, whether the people there rent or own the residence, age, sex, ethnic background, and other information in 12 short questions, according to

The U.S. Census is beginning to recruit applicants for positions including supervisors, census takers, assistants and clerks.

“Whether you’re looking to earn some extra cash, pay down your student debt, or offset holiday season spending, our part-time positions are a great way to do that,” said Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham, in a Jan. 7 U.S. Census Bureau press release.

The positions offer flexible hours, paid training and weekly paychecks. In Kern County, the starting hourly pay begins at $17.50 to $20 per hour, depending on the position, according to a Census flyer.

April D. Wiley, partnership specialist from the Los Angeles Regional Census Center and also a Tehachapi resident, encouraged everyone to participate during the Jan. 21 Tehachapi City Council meeting.

Wiley said that tracked data has shown that 600 adult residents and 2,000 children in Kern County had not been counted in the past.

She added, “This equates to $2,000 per person, per year."

For more information on the U.S. Census visit: