Questionnaires for the 2010 census began going to residents this week. The City of Bellevue is working with the U.S. Census Bureau to encourage everyone to answer the 10 quick questions in the form and mail it back.
The city is inspired to help because if Bellevue's population is undercounted, it could cost the city millions over the next 10 years in federal and state grants, and mean less representation for Bellevue in the federal and state government.
Almost a third of Bellevue's population is foreign-born, and may have difficulty with or be leery about responding, so a special effort is being made to reach immigrant communities.
Immigrants from Russia, China, India, Korea and Mexico who live or work in Bellevue promote the census in a video produced by the city, "Census 2010: A New Portrait of America." Translated into six languages, the video is being distributed to local social service agencies, faith-based organizations and businesses, and is posted at 2010 Census.
A community forum about the census is set for Wednesday, March 24, at Crossroads Bellevue, 6 p.m. on the Market Stage. Hector Maldonado, a partnership coordinator from the Seattle Regional Census Center, along with a panel of speakers, will answer questions from the public.
If people don't return their forms, census takers will go to their homes to follow up, starting in May. Convincing people to return their surveys by mail and making it easy for them to do so is considerably cheaper.
For those who may need a questionnaire in another language or need other help, the census office has set up 22 questionnaire assistance centers in Bellevue, to be staffed by bilingual personnel.
Assistance guides are available in 59 languages at the Census Bureau's website. There are also short, in-language videos on the website to help with form filling. Telephone questionnaire assistance is also provided in Spanish (1-866-928-2010), Chinese (1-866-935-2010), Vietnamese (1-866-945-2010), Korean (1-866-955-2010) and Russian (1-866-965-2010), in addition to English (1-866-872-6868).
To encourage response, the Census Bureau each day will post the percentage of the population in each community that have mailed back their census forms so far. The map-based feature allows Bellevue to track how well neighborhoods and the city as a whole is responding by mail and if we’re doing better than neighboring cities, counties or states.
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