Residents in San Joaquin County, Calif., have the unique opportunity of helping the U.S. Census Bureau prepare for the 2010 Census.
The 2008 Census Dress Rehearsal is an opportunity for the Census Bureau to study certain operations planned for the 2010 Census, ultimately leading to a more accurate count of people and housing units across the nation two years from now.
"It is an honor for our community to be selected to participate in the dress rehearsal, and I encourage all residents to participate and be counted," said Edward J. Chavez, mayor of Stockton. "Your participation in 2008 will help ensure that we will have an accurate and complete count of our community's population for the 2010 Census."
On April 14, all housing units in the county will receive a census dress rehearsal questionnaire in the mail that takes about 10 minutes to complete. Residents are asked to fill out and return the questionnaire promptly in the provided postage-paid envelope.
The main goal of the dress rehearsal is to fine-tune certain operations planned for the 2010 Census under as close to census-like conditions as possible. Those who do not return their questionnaire will receive a reminder letter on April 21.
"By filling out and mailing back the questionnaire, residents can help us achieve a high mail response rate," said Ralph Lee, director of the Census Bureau's Seattle Regional Office. "This is vital because during the upcoming 2010 Census, each one percentage point increase in the national response rate represents a cost savings of about $75 million."
San Joaquin County is one of two areas in the country chosen as a national census dress rehearsal site because it presents an urban location with a multilingual population -- each providing a unique challenge to census workers. The other dress rehearsal site is a nine-county area surrounding Fayetteville, N.C.
For more information on the 2010 Census and the 2008 Census Dress Rehearsal, visit http://2010.census.gov/2010census/.