Look in the mail for your official U.S. Census Bureau invitation to complete the 2020 Census. It will take 10 minutes to answer 10 questions that will shape investments in our community for the next 10 years. And, for the first time, you are able to respond online, by phone or by mail. You can help promote the census with outreach materials and awareness campaigns detailed at the bottom of this page.
Census in multiple languages
The online census questionnaire is available in English and 12 other languages including: Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese and Japanese. You can also take the questionnaire in those languages by phone, with translators on the line 7 days a week from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m. PST. Here is a list of toll-free phone numbers for language and TDD assistance.
What is the census?
Simply put, the census is a head count of every person living in the United States.
Why do we count everyone?
When you and your neighbors participate in the census, you help ensure the Eastside is represented in government and receives the money it deserves to serve all residents.
To be sure the government represents the people, the U.S. Constitution requires a population count every ten years. Ever since 1790, the census has determined the number of seats each state receives in the U.S. House of Representatives. The census is a cornerstone of our democracy.
Leaders also use census data to make decisions. Your response helps guide planning for the future of our community.
The 2020 Census will help inform decisions on how billions of dollars are allocated annually for critical public services like roads, schools, hospitals and healthcare clinics, fire and emergency response services and hundreds of other programs. Being counted in the 2020 Census will ensure federal funding is allocated fairly for programs you care about. Following are examples of federal and state funds Bellevue has received over the past ten years guided by results from the 2010 Census:
- $112 million for Bellevue School District
- $76.2 million for transportation planning and construction
- $5.8 million for Community Development Block Grants
- $40.9 million in Washington state tax distributions.
What questions are asked?
The 2020 Census asks a few simple questions, like how many people are living in your home on April 1, including their age, sex, race, and whether they are of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin. It asks if anyone else is staying with you including children, grandparents, roommates or anyone who may be staying there temporarily. It also asks whether you own or rent your home, everyone's relationship to the household member filling out the form and for a phone number in case they need to clarify information. Counting everyone once, only once and in the right place is the U.S. Census Bureau's goal and motto.
Can personal information be shared with law enforcement agencies?
By law, the U.S. Census Bureau must keep your responses confidential for 72 years. Your personal information cannot be shared with any law enforcement agency or used against you by any government agency or court.
Every person counts no matter who you are, where you live, whether you are here indefinitely or here on a work or student visa. So, whether your family has participated for decades or the 2020 Census will be your first, we all have a role in shaping the future of our country and community.
How can you help?
Please reach out to your coworkers, neighbors, friends and family to remind them that 2020 is a census year and that everyone counts. Share the following materials with them to help them better understand what the census is, why we do it and how they can participate. Also, let them know they can find answers to more of their questions at 2020census.gov and at the websites below.
The schedule for the 2020 census includes the following milestones in 2020.
- March 12-24: Mailings inviting people to complete the online census questionnaire
- March 26-April 3: Reminder postcard mailed
- April 8-16: Reminder letter and paper questionnaire mailed
- April 20-27: Final reminder postcard mailed
- May-late July: Census takers knock on doors of households who have not responded to collect information in person.
Here are some materials to help you get started spreading the word:
- Bellevue's 2020 Census Brochure
- Bellevue's 2020 Census Poster
- Sample newsletter article
- Email template
- Sample talking points for community leaders
Toolkits from partner agencies listed below can also help you get started spreading the word.
2020 Census Awareness Campaigns
The East King County Communities Count Committee is leading the effort to guide and coordinate census outreach efforts across the Eastside. Below are links to the committee and national, state and regional 2020 Census awareness campaigns:
- East King County Communities Count Committee
- United States 2020 Census
- Washington State Complete Count Committee
- King County Regional Census Committee
- Asian Counseling and Referral Service 2020 Census
- Indian Association of Western Washington 2020 Census
- Chinese Information Service Center 2020 Census