Even with the citizenship question settled, an accurate 2020 census will face an uphill battle. The biggest obstacles to a complete count are the different “hard to count” populations that can be found all over the country, even without the question that many, including the Census Bureau itself, projected would suppress response rates, even among Amerian citizens. They are minority groups, children under the age of five, rural residents, urban residents, non-native English speakers and there’s no one-size-fits-all formula to reach them. “What is a hard-to-count group in my county might be totally different from one in yours,” said Stanley Moore, a Cook County, Ill. commissioner whose father worked for the Census Bureau. Counties are motivated to ensure as complete of a census count as possible because the results determine congressional representation and the distribution of millions of dollars in federal funding each year. More than that, Tim Olson said, is that counting someone demonstrates respect for them. He is the associate director for field operations at the Census Bureau. He also knows that not everyone is as aware of the coming census, which will record where people live as of April 1, 2020. “What about people who live in your community who don’t follow what we follow, they’re not in the loop and they don’t care,” he said. Beth Lynk, director of census counts at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said the key to reaching disaffected populations is through friends and family — trusted messengers. Counties could reach those influencers by meeting them in their spheres of activity.