Census count coming in March

Every ten years, the federal government mandates a census count. And beginning in March of 2010, the census forms will be mailed out to physical addresses on Lopez Island. The official Census Day this year is April 1, 2010.

It is important to note that in 2000, only 34% of census forms in the San Juan County area were filled out and returned, the worst number in the state of Washington. The federal government parcels out 435 billion for everything from family resources, food banks, defenses, to emergency services and public libraries. If the San Juan community doesn’t fill out the census forms, Lopez Island and the San Juans will not get their fair share of federal resources.

“We have a special geographical niche, a uniqueness that might help us get funding, but we do have a responsibility to stand up and be counted, and it’s a right as well,” Tim Thomsen, Partnership Assistant, said.

The information that is collected during the census is confidential and private.

There will be census forms also left at the LIFRC and the post office. In each community there will be a Questionnaire Assistance Center.

“On Lopez, the QAC will be housed at the Lopez Library or the Community Center,” Thomsen said.

A Complete Count Committee has been formed on each island as well; representatives from many walks of life come together to meet twice a month to brainstorm and come up with ways to help Lopezians fill out their forms and get them in. For more information, go to www.census.gov or contact Tim Thomsen 378-4436.