The U.S. Census Bureau today opened its last of three data capture centers that will process 2010 Census questionnaires as they are mailed back by households across the nation next spring. The 212,000 square-foot facility in Phoenix will bring more than 2,800 jobs to the area.
"Processing the 2010 Census questionnaires accurately and safely at the data capture centers is a crucial step to a successful census," said Census Bureau Associate Director for Decennial Programs Arnold Jackson. "The responses from each form processed at the facility will help provide a complete count of the nation's population and a new portrait of America."
The Phoenix Data Capture Center is expected to process about 30 percent of the census forms mailed back by respondents. The remaining forms will be sent to the Census Bureau's National Processing Center in Jeffersonville, Ind., and the data capture center in Baltimore. The 2010 Census forms will be mailed in March, and the majority of the data processing will occur between March and July.
The call center is one of only 11 facilities to serve as an information resource/hotline for questions people may have when completing their forms. The Phoenix professionals will answer questions about the process and completing the questionnaire, and will follow-up with respondents if their returned forms are not complete or potentially inaccurate.
Both facilities will be managed by Lockheed Martin. Its subcontractor partner, Vangent, will manage the hiring efforts for the 2,830 new employees, most of whom will be hired starting in January 2010. Each worker will take an oath for life to keep census information confidential. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents' answers with any other government or law enforcement agency. Any violation of that oath is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and five years in prison.
The 2010 Census is a count of everyone living in the United States and is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Census data are used to distribute congressional seats to states and used to allocate more than $400 billion in federal funds to local, state and tribal governments each year. The 2010 Census questionnaire will be one of the shortest in history and consists of 10 questions, taking about 10 minutes to complete. For more information, visit http://2010.census.gov/2010census.