Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon is urging residents to complete and return their 2010 Census forms, which were mailed this week.
The information the census collects helps determine how more than $400 billion of federal funding is spent nationally on infrastructure and services each year, including hospitals, job training centers, schools, senior centers, road projects and human services.
“Snohomish County’s future federal funding for quality of life services depends on an accurate population count,” Reardon said. “Take 10 minutes to answer 10 questions.”
During the 2000 Census, Snohomish County reported a 73 percent return rate of census forms, 1 percent higher than the state and national average. The county is hoping to beat that percentage with at least a 75 percent return this time if not higher.
In 2000, the county population was 606,024, a 30 percent increase since the 1990 Census reported a county population of 465,628. Estimates in 2009 placed the county’s population just over 700,000.
“But we won’t have an accurate count unless residents take the time to fill out and return their census forms,” Reardon said.
An accurate count of the U.S. population is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Every 10 years, residents get the chance to be counted. This census, residents can track national, state, county and municipal return rates with comparisons to 2000 Census numbers at 2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map.
Census forms are available in different languages, and local help is available at many Sno-Isle community libraries. For information on locations, go to www.sno-isle.org.
Federal law protects the confidentiality of the information collected during the census so residents don’t have to worry about sensitive information being shared with others. Private information is never published.
Households that do not fill out and return a form will receive a visit from a census taker, who then will collect the data.
Census workers are clearly identifiable by their badges, however, residents should take care not to divulge sensitive information to someone other than a census worker. Census workers will not ask for financial information or social security numbers, nor will they solicit or collect money.
“Beware of criminals looking to take advantage of the 2010 Census,” Reardon said. “If you’re unsure, ask to see the person’s U.S. Census I.D. badge.”
For more information on how information is used, or general questions about the U.S. Census, go to 2010.census.gov/2010census/index.php or follow the link from www.snoco.org.