"This is the form. This is what the entire package looks like. Accept no substitutes!"
With these words, Census Bureau Director Kenneth Prewitt today urged U.S. households to be on the lookout for their Census 2000 questionnaire, scheduled to arrive in the mail starting next week. Prewitt made his public appeal in a video news release distributed to television stations across the country.
The questionnaire comes in an envelope with the "United States Census 2000" logo on it and a Bureau of the Census return address, the director said. It also bears this message: "U.S. Census Form Enclosed. Your Response Is Required By Law."
"We've designed a distinctive-looking package," said Prewitt, "so everyone will know that this, and only this, is the official census form with a bar code for their household. We want it to stand out from the stacks of other mail because it could, in fact, be the most important piece of mail delivered in the weeks ahead.
"The census is as important to our nation as highways and telephone lines. It's how America knows what America needs. It will provide the data that will help target more than $2 trillion in federal funds during the next decade -- for schools, employment services, housing assistance, hospital services, programs for the elderly and much more."
Another 22 million forms are being hand-delivered by Census Bureau enumerators to housing units that do not use street names and house numbers for mail delivery. This operation, conducted mostly in rural areas, began last Friday (March 3).
"This is the questionnaire," Prewitt declared, pointing to the census form. "Fill it out and mail it back on or before April 1, Census Day."
About 98 million questionnaire packages will be delivered by U.S. Postal Service letter carriers next week. About 83 million households will receive the census short form, which asks just seven questions, while about 15 million will receive the long form, which has 52 questions.The Census Bureau needs the help of local residents to conduct Census 2000. Job opportunities include census taker positions in communities and neighborhoods and office work. A large number of part-time positions are available. For more information on census jobs in your area, call toll-free 1-888-325-7733.
The Census Bureau guarantees that the answers given on census forms are kept strictly confidential. Information collected in Census 2000 will provide local area data needed for communities to receive federal program funds and for private sector and community planning.