From the Seattle Times:
The U.S. Census has launched a unique way of urging people to be counted: Tsue Chong Co. of Seattle is inserting five different messages urging census participation into 2 million fortune cookies being shipped to restaurants and groceries across Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The Census Bureau is partnering with Tsue Chong Co. to create fortune cookies with a message about the upcoming count.
Next time you crack open a fortune cookie, check the flip side. The federal government may have a message for you.
Tsue Chong Co., a fortune-cookie factory in Seattle’s Chinatown International District, is inserting five different census messages into 2 million cookies being shipped to restaurants and groceries across Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
Like the usual predictions of wealth, fame and long life you’ll find on one side, the census missives on the opposite side are a bit … well … banal.
“Put down your chopsticks and get involved in Census 2010,” reads one message. “Real Fortune is being heard,” reads another.
It’s all part of a broader effort by the Census Bureau to spread the word about the upcoming population count on April 1. The nation’s 112 million households will begin receiving forms in the mail beginning in late March.
The decennial count helps allocate more than $400 billion a year in federal funds to state and local governments for programs such as public housing, highways and schools.
Census results help determine political boundaries as well as the number of representatives each state will send to Congress. Because Washington’s population has steadily grown, the state could pick up a 10th congressional seat after this year’s count.
There’s great financial motivation: Each uncounted person means a loss of about $1,400 in federal money per year, according to the Census Bureau.
Bessie Fan, co-owner of the family-run cookie and noodle factory, Tsue Chong, called it a “great thrill to partner with the census for such an important effort.