The 2010 Census is well under way with the U.S. Census Bureau mailing questionnaires to about 120 million addresses nationwide. They arrived March 15-17.

Residents are encouraged to complete the 10-question census form when it arrives and to return it in the accompanying pre-paid envelope as soon as possible.

“The 2010 Census is easy, important and safe,” said Census Bureau Regional Director Dennis R. Johnson. “It’s important for families to take 10 minutes to answer the 10 questions in the 2010 Census because of the impact of the 2010 Census has on our local communities. I encourage everyone to participate.”

Census Bureau research shows that for every 1 percent increase in households that respond by mail, taxpayers save about $85 million in operational costs associated with census takers going door-to-door to follow up with households that did not mail back the form. In the 2000 Census, 72 percent of households in the nation mailed back their questionnaires.

The more than 120 million households that receive the 2010 Census form by mail represent about 90 percent of all residential addresses in the country. Census workers recently started hand-delivering census forms to another 9 percent of addresses in areas where many households lack traditional city-style postal addresses.

Answers to the 2010 Census are kept confidential and protected by federal law. Every Census Bureau employee must take an oath and is subject to five years in prison or a $250,000 fine or both if they disclose any information that could identify a household. The information is only used for statistical purposes.

The 2010 Census is an actual count of everyone living in the United States and it is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Census data is used to allocate congressional seats to the states and to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds to tribal, state and local governments each year.

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