Chattanooga city leaders are gearing up for the 2020 census, and they want to make sure everyone is counted.

Officials say be having an accurate representation of the city is vital for its growth.

The census determines our share of federal funding for important community projects and determines our representation and legislative districts for elections.

Historically, many places in Chattanooga are hard to count.

The U.S. Census is conducted every 10 years, and it's the basis of how our government serves the population.

Tyler Yount, the City's Director of Special Projects, says it can take months to track down everyone in Chattanooga.

“Folks that don't trust the government that's [a] hard to reach population, immigrants and new Americans, people who are living in housing projects and mobile populations,” said Tyler Yount.

Yount says the most undercounted population is young children between the ages of zero and five.

The census determines how we allocate our resources on the local, state and federal level.

An inaccurate count of people means a huge loss of funds for the community.

“On average we lose about $1400 per person that is not counted,” said Yount. “That money could go towards important things like sidewalks, schools, roads and affordable housing things that we really need.”

In an effort to get the most accurate numbers, census workers will go around knocking on doors.

This year the government has taken it a step further by allowing people to fill out the information online.

“All these government decisions at the local state and federal level of how we allocate our resources, and what types of needs are there,” said Yount.

Census paperwork will be sent to homes in April 2020 and follow-ups for those who haven't responded will start in May.

The information will be given to the president by the end of 2020.