Many Utahns to get bilingual census surveys

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Utahns living in communities with the highest concentrations of Latinos may get bilingual forms in the mail from the U.S. Census Bureau when it conducts its population count next spring.

The bureau is targeting certain census blocks in western Salt Lake City, much of Ogden, West Valley City and parts of Provo-Orem, among larger cities, said Todd Hansen, Census office manager for Utah. Bilingual surveys also will go to Wendover, the Tooele area and parts of South Jordan.

The language outreach is part of an effort to accurately count a population that traditionally has been difficult to pin down.

"Anything we can do to make the Hispanic community feel comfortable filling out the form is a good thing," Hansen said. Putting the form in Spanish will help some native Spanish speakers avoid confusion or uneasiness about certain words, he said.

Because the bureau only targets areas and not specific households, some Spanish speakers will receive English-only surveys. Those surveys, though, contain a line in Spanish telling residents where to go or call to get a Spanish survey. The same is true of other languages for which no bilingual form will be mailed in Utah.

Brandon Loomis