Mercer Island residents return their census forms at record rate

Census officials said last week that 81 percent of Mercer Islanders had completed and mailed their census survey forms as of April 22. “This is an impressive rate of return,” said Deni Luna, media specialist for the Census Bureau.

Islanders have returned their forms at a higher rate than most if not all Eastside communities. At present, the return rate for Bellevue and Kirkland is 73 percent; Newcastle, 76 percent; Issaquah, 75 percent; and Sammamish, 79 percent.

The national return rate to date or what is termed the “short form surveys,” which every household in the United States received, is 72 percent, the same as it was in the last official census in 2000, Luna explained.

A more in-depth census survey called the “American Community Survey,” which collects more detailed information on household characteristics, will be sent out to about two percent of all Americans in a few years. The last ACS was conducted in 2003. Households are randomly selected to receive the survey.

Luna said that census workers will begin going door to door to those who have yet to return their forms or have not received them, on May 1. She urges individuals to send in their forms by May 3.

“It is so important that people and their communities get counted,” she explained. “These numbers determine government funding and benefits for years to come.”

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