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Fill out 2010 Census — mistakes and all

The 2010 Census forms have been sent out. This year's questionnaire consists of 10 questions. The City encourages residents of Federal Way, both citizens of the United States and non-citizens, to complete the form and send it back to the U.S. Census Bureau promptly.

Every 10 years, a census is sent out nationwide. The forms assist in counting the number of individuals residing in the state. They are not used as a basis to prosecute illegal aliens or other matters, Federal Way human services director Lynnette Hynden said. The number of forms returned and how the census questions are answered dictates the number of seats each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Additionally, the information provided helps decide how much federal money is allocated to each community over the next 10 years. Annually, $400 billion is distributed dependent on census information. The money is used to fund things such as hospitals, job training centers, schools, senior centers, public works projects and infrastructure and emergency services.

Federal Way could receive up to $1,400 for each household that completes and returns a census form this year, according to a city press release.

Mistakes

Many residents who received a letter in the past weeks preparing them for their census form noticed a correct street address, but incorrect city listed on the mailing envelope. The mistake has happened across the United States, Hynden said.

The error is due to a glitch with the United States Postal Service. The postal service has inaccurate corresponding cities and ZIP codes for several areas, not just Federal Way.

The U.S. Census Bureau is aware of the problem, Hynden said. In Federal Way, the error has occurred primarily in the 98003 ZIP code. Where the address should list Federal Way, it instead reads Auburn.

This error is not expected to affect the funding each community receives because the Census Bureau uses actual house numbers within census tracts when deciding which communities ought to receive funding, Hynden said.

Residents with concerns or questions about the Census may contact Hynden at (253) 835-2650.

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