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United States Census

About Census 2010


What is the Census?

The Census is a count of every person residing in the United States, regardless of age, race, and ethnicity, citizens and non-citizens. Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution requires a census of everyone in the United States every ten years. The first Census was in 1790 and the next one occurs in 2010. The Census form asks 10 simple questions and can be completed in 10 minutes. Federal law protects the personal information you share with the Census Bureau. The information collected is used to distribute Congressional seats to states, to make decisions about what community services to provide, and to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds to state, local and tribal governments each year. Census Day is April 1, 2010.

Sample Census Forms

Census forms will also be available in Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese and Russian. In addition, local Questionnaire Assistance Centers will have language guides in more than 59 other languages.

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Why is the Census important?

Census data shapes the future of your community and defines your voice in Congress. All levels of government, businesses, and nonprofit organizations rely on Census data. Results of the Census affect a wide range of key policy decisions:

  • Political Representation. Census data determines the allocation of the 435 Congressional House seats. States with larger increases in population gain more political representation. The data is used to draw Congressional and state legislative district lines, and in some communities, it also decides county and school board seats.
  • Federal Funding. Census data directly affects how more than $400 billion per year in federal funding is allocated to communities for neighborhood improvements, public health, education, job training, transportation, and much more. In Washington State, it is estimated that we will lose more than $12,000 for each person not counted over the next 10-year period.
  • Civil Rights. Census data determines key aspects of our civil rights laws, such as enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.
  • Business Decisions. Census data is used by businesses to analyze local trends, make informed business decisions from marketing to capital spending on merchandising and work force, and understand customer demographics and needs.

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Who get counted?

The Census is a count of every person residing in the United States and its territories such as Puerto Rico, Guam, and the American Virgin Islands. For Census purposes, a persons legal status does not matter as both citizens and noncitizens are counted.

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Confidentiality & Security

Responses Are Confidential

By federal law (Title 13, United States Code), the information on your Census form is completely confidential and cannot be disclosed for 72 years. The Census Bureau does not share an individuals information with courts, the police, or any other government agency such as the Internal Revenue Service or the Department of Homeland Security. Census Bureau employees take an oath under Title 13 to protect your confidentiality. If they fail to, they are subject to harsh criminal penalties, including a prison sentence of up to five years and a $250,000 fine, or both. Every person with access to an individuals Census information is subject to this law.

The Census Bureau uses all responses namelessly, for statistical purposes only. Typically, it simply adds them up into large sums, such as the number of people in a state, city or area.

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How to Identify a Census Field Representative

It is possible that you will be visited by a Census Field Representative. Here are some RECOGNITION TIPS to assure the validity of the person coming to your door that they are a Field Representative of the United States Census Bureau:

  • Representative must present an ID Badge which contains: photograph of the Field Representative, Department of Commerce watermark, and expiration date.
  • Representative will provide you with supervisor contact information and/or the Seattle regional office phone number for verification, if asked.
  • Representative will provide you with a letter from the director of the Census Bureau on U.S. Census Bureau letterhead.
  • Representative may be carrying a laptop and/or bag with a Census Bureau logo.

If you have any doubt about a person coming to your door, please call the Seattle Regional Office for verification at (206) 501-4160. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 am- 5:00 pm

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Census at a Glance

Every 10 years, the Census counts everyone residing in the United States.

Census data is used to allocate more than $400 billion in federal funds each year.

The next Census count begins April 1, 2010.

The Census form has only 10 questions.

Your answers on the Census form are confidential and protected by law.

U.S. Census 2010 web site has additional information.

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