The Census Bureau is launching a massive address canvassing operation to verify and update more than 145 million addresses as it prepares to conduct the 2010 Census.
The address canvassing operation will be conducted out of 151 local census offices across the U.S., including offices in the Seattle, Spokane and Tacoma areas.
Tacoma will run address canvassing operations April 6 through June 12. Seattle and Spokane will run address canvassing operations April 20 through June 26.
In most cases, census workers will knock on residents’ doors to verify addresses and inquire about additional living quarters on the premises.
Nationwide, more than 140,000 census workers will participate in the address canvassing operation, a critically important first step in assuring that every housing unit receives a census questionnaire in March 2010. In Washington state, approximately 4,000 people will carry out the address canvassing operation.
The countdown to the 2010 Census is officially one year out on April 1.
“The 2010 Census will be the largest peacetime mobilization in our nation’s history,” said Ralph Lee, Seattle Regional Director at the U.S. Census Bureau. The Seattle Regional Census Center is headquartered in Bothell and coordinates census operations for the five-state territory of Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska.
The US Constitution requires that everyone living in the United States be counted every ten years.
The first publicly visible activity of the 2010 Census is ahead of schedule.
“The goal of the census is to count everyone once, only once, and in the right place,” Lee said.
The census is used for reapportioning seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and the distribution of more than $300 billion in federal dollars every year to state and local governments.
Over the last several years, the Census Bureau has been updating its geographic databases and master address files. From implementing the Local Update of Census Address (LUCA) program where more than 11,500 tribal, state and local governments participated in a review of the Census Bureau’s address list for their area, to increasing the precision of the GPS mapping, many advances have been made to compile the most comprehensive listing of addresses in the nation.
The operation will use new hand-held computers equipped with GPS to increase geographic accuracy. The ability to capture GPS coordinates for most of the nation’s housing units will greatly reduce the number of geographic coding errors caused by using paper maps in previous counts.
This is the first census to include group quarters (such as dormitories, group homes, prisons and homeless shelters) in the address canvassing operation, which should improve both the accuracy and coverage of the final count.
There will be one final opportunity to add new home construction in early 2010 prior to the mailing of the census questionnaires.
Census workers can be identified by the official Census Bureau badge they carry. During the address canvassing operation, census workers may ask to verify a housing structure’s address and whether there are additional living quarters on the property.
2010 Census workers will never ask for bank or social security information. All census information collected, including addresses, are confidential and protected by law. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents’ answers with the FBI, the IRS, CIA, Welfare, Immigration, or any other government agency. No court of law or law enforcement agency can find out respondents’ answers. All Census Bureau employees — including temporary employees — take an oath for life to keep census information confidential. Any violation of that oath is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and five years in prison.