Once every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau counts every person in the United States. As part of its "Bellevue Counts" campaign, the city is promoting awareness of the upcoming 2020 census. The census determines:
- The number of seats each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives.
- How much money each state and local community gets from the federal government for schools, transportation, healthcare, housing and more. In 2016, Washington received $2,300 in federal funds per person.
- State and local legislative redistricting.
Of note for Bellevue, everyone residing in the city, including citizens of foreign countries living here, is tallied in the census. Planned questions for the census include age, sex, race and homeownership status.
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.
Census in Multiple Languages
The online census questionnaire will be available in English and 12 other languages including: Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese and Japanese. People can also take the questionnaire in those languages by phone, with translators on the line. Paper questionnaires will be available in Spanish and English.
What’s in it for You?
Being counted in the 2020 Census ensures Bellevue receives the federal funding it deserves for programs you care about. In 2016, the state received over 16.6 billion dollars in funding from 55 of the largest federal spending programs guided by data derived from the 2010 census. That figure averages out to $2,300 per person in 2016.
Since 2010, Bellevue has received over $83 million in federal and state funds for transportation and parks projects based on the census count, including:
- Widening of 120th Avenue Northeast, between Northeast Fourth and 12th streets;
- Pedestrian safety improvements along Northup Way and 148th Avenue;
- Design and construction of portions of the Mountain to Sound Greenway trail, including a pedestrian bridge;
- Construction of Inspiration Playground at Downtown Park;
- Construction of the Lower Coal Creek Trail; and
- Construction of Meydenbauer Bay Park.
An accurate census will also enable the city to plan programs and services that fit the needs of its growing and diversifying population.
How you can help
In addition to answering the census, you can help make sure others on the Eastside are counted as well. A primary challenge facing the Census Bureau is the under count of certain population groups, such as foreign-born residents, renters, individuals living in homes without an internet connection, people living close to or below the poverty line and children younger than five years of age. Bellevue is a diverse community, so counting everyone here will be a challenge too.
The East King County Communities Count Committee is a leadership team helping to guide and coordinate census outreach efforts across the Eastside. Go to their webpage for more information about how you can participate.