Census takers to follow up with 14,000 Bellevue households
Nearly three-fourths of Bellevue households -- 74 percent -- and 72 percent of households nationwide mailed back their 2010 Census forms in March and April. Now the census moves into its second half, the door-to-door phase or "non-response follow-up."
The goal of this operation is to obtain a completed form from every remaining household in order to obtain a final census count. The task requires the deployment of hundreds of thousands of temporary census workers around the country knocking on millions of doors in the neighborhoods where they themselves live.
About 1,500 census takers on the Eastside began going door to door in May. An estimated 14,000 addresses will be visited in Bellevue through July 10.
So that residents can confirm their identities, census takes will:
- Present an identification badge that contains a Department of Commerce watermark and expiration date. The census taker may also be carrying a black canvass bag with a Census Bureau logo.
- Provide you with supervisor contact information and/or the local census office phone number for verification, if asked.
- Only ask you the questions that appear on the 2010 Census form.
Census takers will not ask for social security number, bank account number or credit card number, and will never solicit for donations or contact you by e-mail.
In most cases, census workers will make up to six attempts at each housing unit address to count possible residents. This includes leaving notifications of the attempted visit at the house or apartment door, in addition to trying to reach the household by phone to conduct the interview or schedule an in-person interview.
Census takers will go to great lengths to ensure that no one is missed in the census. After exhausting their efforts to do an in-person interview with a resident of an occupied housing unit, they will seek out a neighbor, rental agent, building manager or some other knowledgeable person familiar with the housing unit -- to obtain as much basic information about the occupants as they can.
Some households will receive a visit even though they may have mailed back their form. If the form arrived too late to be processed before nonresponse follow-up packets were sent to one of the 494 local census offices, the household occupants must still be interviewed when the census taker arrives. The Census Bureau is urging cooperation and patience with the census takers, as this is the best way to ensure that everyone is counted properly.
Households that didn't receive a form by mail, including those that pick up their mail from post office boxes, will be visited by census workers as part of the follow-up plan. The Census Bureau doesn’t mail forms to post office boxes because responses must be associated with a specific residence location, not the post office box location.
The Census Bureau has stringent systems in place to ensure that people can feel safe when they open their door to a census taker. All census takers undergo an FBI background check that includes both name and fingerprint checks. All have taken an oath for life to protect the information they collect and understand that they face stiff penalties, jail time or both for any disclosure of personally identifiable information.
Note that the Census Bureau conducts several surveys in addition to the 2010 Census. For example, the American Community Survey is sent to approximately 3 million households annually and also involves follow-up from census workers.
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