Every ten years, the federal government conducts a census, counting every person living in the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau strives to count every person, regardless of age, immigration status, or housing status.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, “The census tells us who we are and where we are going as a nation, and helps our communities determine where to build everything from schools to supermarkets, and from homes to hospitals. It helps the government decide how to distribute funds and assistance to states and localities.”
Data from the 2020 decennial census was used to help determine where the boundaries for each legislative district are drawn. These changes affected Burien residents (see Burien’s current legislative districts online).
In 2020, census enumerators, the people hired to ensure an accurate and complete count, faced enormous challenges. The first stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, an unusually active wildfire season, and a shortened count timeframe all impacted their ability to conduct the count. Despite these challenges, community groups, local cities, elected officials, and a coalition of dedicated organizers pulled together to ensure their communities were counted.
In Burien, we participated in the South King County Census Table, which worked with community groups and other cities to coordinate outreach to encourage our community members to respond to the census. Local organizations also conducted their own outreach campaigns to encourage community members to respond to the census. State committees and philanthropic organizations joined local count committees in helping build capacity, partnering with trusted community members to encourage census participation.
The decennial census asked ten questions to gather basic demographic information and provide the official population count. The American Community Survey, which is conducted every year, asks a smaller sample of people more questions to gather data about the social and economic needs of communities. Both the decennial census and American Community Survey were conducted in 2020.
Visit our Census story on the Burien Community Hub to learn more about how Burien has changed in the last ten years.