- What: The census is a count of everyone residing in the United States.
- Who: All U.S. residents must be counted—both citizens and non-citizens.
- When: The U.S. Constitution requires a national census once every 10 years.
- Why: To count the population and determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Importance at Federal Level
- Census data determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives and determine state legislative district boundaries.
- Every year, the federal government allocates more than $400 billion to states and communities based, in part, on census data. Census data directly affect how federal and state funding is allocated to local, state and tribal governments.
- Federal agencies use census data to target resources to areas in need as well as to assess the impacts of their programs.
Importance at State and Local Levels
- Helps us identify who are we as a state, county and city;
- Helps us compare ourselves with other communities around the state and nation;
- Helps us compare who we are today with who we were 10, 20 or 30 years ago;
- Indicates trends; and
- Suggests actions we might take for the future.
Importance for City Departments
- Transportation and Utilities use census data to ensure adequate investments are made to roads, trails, sewer and water facilities to serve future populations.
- Parks & Communities Services uses Census data to plan for future park and recreation facilities and to better understand our community’s needs for human services.
- Economic Development uses Census data to identify opportunities for new businesses within the city.
- Planning & Community Development uses Census data to ensure adequate development capacity is available to meet Bellevue’s future housing and economic needs.
- Fire uses census data to plan and prepare for emergencies.
Other agencies in Bellevue use census data to assess the need for schools, hospitals and job training. Businesses such as grocery stores, restaurants, car dealerships use census data to help determine locations for new stores and offices.
SAFETY OF CENSUS DATA
By law, the Census Bureau cannot share an individual’s responses with anyone, including other federal agencies and law enforcement entities.