By Katharine Sanders, Director of Grantmaking
A Native American comedian, Vaughn Eaglebear, the Estrella de Mexico Mariachi Band and Good4You Country Music group will share the stage Saturday, March 6th at the Omak Performing Arts Center to help celebrate the rich cultural mix of the communities in North Central Washington. It’s no coincidence that they will also be helping promote the 2010 Census.
Results of the 2010 Census will help determine how federal agencies divvy up the money they spend in each geographic area. Census counts also affect the number of legislative positions assigned to represent states and communities. As the country becomes more diverse, getting an accurate count of how many people live in which towns becomes a bigger challenge.
Resourceful leaders in Okanogan County are employing the Census as an opportunity “to celebrate the richness of the cultural diversity we enjoy in our county.” WorkSource is teaming up with Wenatchee Valley College and US Census 2010 to organize a cultural gathering to promote the importance of the census for local communities. Native Americans, Hispanics and non-Hispanic Whites each make up about a third of the population of the county. See event flyer here.
Community leaders in Clallam County are also concerned. According to United Way officials there counts of people in minority communities, tribal elders, and people with low incomes were all low in the 2000 Census. It’s no wonder rural leaders here and throughout the state are building new relationships and working creatively to get an accurate count. In some communities Census workers are still being hired.
Census Officials Would Like You to Know
- The Census now has only 10 questions – it takes about 10 minutes to complete the form.
- Census forms will be mailed out to every street address in mid March. Forms will not be mailed to post office boxes.
- Census day is April 1st. The goal is to have all forms returned by April 30th.
- The Census is not associated with any other department in government and is very secure – there are significant legal consequences for violating Census confidentiality. Even the Secret Service has been denied access to Census data.
- Following April 30th, Census workers will go door to door to collect information from addresses that do not respond.
- It costs approximately $35.00 per household visit. For every percentage point of non-returned forms it costs the government $72 million. Wow!