City mobilizing to help ensure accurate 2010 census count

Numbers tell a story. Chandler, with the U.S. Census Report for 2010 on the horizon, is hoping to learn some things about its community and residents.

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To get an accurate number for the census in 2010, the city of Chandler has created a committee to help promote and inform area residents of the importance of the census. Chandler Public Information Officer Jane Poston said census results help determine a number of things for Chandler.

“It’s tied to so many of the services that the city can provide in terms of police services, fire services, libraries-all sorts of different things,” Poston said.

Transportation and street services are also tied to the census. Final statistics also help determine the amount of tax dollars a city can receive.

“Every person counts for about $400 a year. Over a 10-year period that’s about $4,000 for every resident we have that’s counted in the city of Chandler,” Poston said.

Poston said, in 2000, Chandler recorded a population of 176,000. This year Poston said the numbers show more than 250,000 individuals have come to call Chandler home.

“We have a large increase in the number of residents that we’re serving,” Poston said.

U.S. Census questionnaires will be delivered or mailed to homes in March 2010. Many houses will receive a replacement questionnaire in April. This year’s census questionnaire will make history.

“It’s the very shortest one in the history of the census,” Poston said. “It’s quick, it’s confidential and it’s important.”

The questionnaire is made up of 10 questions covering a number of topics.

How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment or mobile home on April 1, 2010? What is your date of birth? What is your race? Those are some of the questions which are asked.

Poston said the Complete Count Committee, made up of Chandler area residents, will assist in collecting questionnaires and promoting the importance of the census.

“We are hoping to reach a different variety of folks in our city,” Poston said.

The committee has reached out to neighborhood leaders, faith leaders, school district leaders and business communities in hopes of spreading the word.

“We’re going to try to reach them as many different ways as possible through many different venues,” Poston said.

The best-case scenario would be returns by 100 percent of the community members in Chandler. To get as many replies as possible, Census Bureau workers will visit households that do not return questionnaires. Workers can make up to six visits to a home.

“Our overall goal is that 100 percent of the people who are living here in April of 2010 are counted,” Poston said.  “They’ll do everything they can to help us reach that 100 percent.”

Chandler already is ahead of the curve. In 2000, 67 percent of United States citizens completed and returned census questionnaires. The state of Arizona saw 63 percent complete the steps. Chandler residents completed and returned 68 percent.

“I think we have really active residents in the city of Chandler. We have neighbors that really like to get involved and they’re very active in their community and support their community,” Poston said.

“This is a very simple way for anyone to show community support for the city of Chandler.”

Seasonal residents are sometime unsure where they should fill out a questionnaire.

“If they’re here on April 2010, please fill out that form from here,” Poston said. “We want to count everyone who is living here. We’re providing services for the people who live here. We want to make sure everyone is counted.”

Poston said information disclosed in the questionnaire will not be shared.

By answering questions and reaching out, Poston hopes for an impressive return.

“It’s a matter of education and time. Like anything, it’s really a matter of educating people to understand why it’s important,” she said.

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