The U.S. Census Bureau will open one of just five Valley offices in Mesa next week as it gears up for the 2010 census.
The location at 1102 N. Higley Road will oversee operations in Mesa and parts of Pinal County, including the Gila River Indian Community. It will house the recruiting and support staff for more than 1,000 door-to-door census takers who will canvas locations, update addresses and obtain demographic household information through interviews.
A goal of the office is to boost the return rate from residents, as the 2000 census led to only a 59 percent return rate in Mesa. That compares with 63 percent in Arizona and 67 percent nationwide. Community members who make up a Complete Count Committee have set a return rate goal of 68 percent this time through better education and outreach.
Counting residents is important to Mesa, as the city loses $1,500 to $2,000 a year in federal funding for each uncounted resident.
April 1 is designated as National Census Day. Residents are encouraged to mail in their completed census information forms by that date. It will ask residents for name, gender, age, birth date, race, ethnicity, relationship and housing tenure. Over the course of several months afterward, census workers will canvass households that did not return a form.
For information about census jobs, go to and click on "Census 2010 It's In YOUR Hands" under the "highlights" section of the home page, or log onto http://www.2010censusjobs.gov.