Census forms will start hitting the nation's mailboxes in March.
Already, though, workers are scouring California's Central Valley to ensure that those once-per-decade questionnaires get filled out and sent back instead of tossed into the trash.
The Valley is considered to be among the hardest places in the country for the U.S. Census to count. In practice, that means people here are less likely than elsewhere to send back their forms.
The reasons include high levels of poverty, high numbers of people who speak little or no English, and overcrowded and often unusual housing arrangements. The recent flood of foreclosures has only added to the problem.
That's why a team of 60 census workers has spent much of this year swarming Central California. They've enlisted local government leaders, community organizations and educators. They've dropped off countless flyers.
"We covered every business, every tacqueria, every bakery, every place that hard-to-count people would congregate," said John Flores, who is leading the effort in 13 counties across the center of California. "Food vendors, that little market that's there in Five Points, any place and every place that we thought people would go."
What happens next is open to question. At one Clovis convenience store Wednesday, clerks were unable to find any trace of a stack of flyers dropped off one week earlier.
"I don't even know what happened to them," said clerk Carole Fundel. "If we did get them out, they're gone."
Read more at FresnoBee.com