Chances are you’ve heard tons about the 2010 census. The catchy slogans – “You can’t move forward until you send it back” and “It’s in our hands” – have been all over the place, urging Americans to fill out the forms. If you saw the Super Bowl, as the large majority of the U.S. did, you saw the new ad campaign that the Obama campaign has spent $133 million on to promote the census. But for many, and maybe even for you, this raises the question: Why should you care?
A quick overview
What: The census is a count of everyone residing in the United States on April 1 of 2010.
Who: All U.S. residents must be counted – that includes citizens and non-citizens. But say you’re studying or living across seas on this date, you will not be counted in the 2010 Census.
Why: The Constitution requires a national census every 10 years to count the population and determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives.
When: 2010 Census forms will be mailed or delivered in March 2010 to all households and students living in on- and off-campus housing.
How: All households, college and university students, immigrants (documented and undocumented), veterans, EVERYONE should complete and mail back their forms upon receipt.
Why is the census important?
- Census data is used to determine:
- how more than $400 billion is allocated to state, local and tribal governments;
- how and where funds are used in school lunch programs, senior citizen centers, new construction such as highways and hospitals, and more;
- locations for retail stores, schools, hospitals, new housing developments, child care centers and other community facilities;
- education opportunities, job training programs, housing needs and health programs for veterans;
- School grant and loan programs for college and university students.
- The census helps employers understand where the next generation of workers is coming from, which will influence recruitment efforts at universities.
- Scientific research depends on census data.
- It’s easy! The 2010 census is the shortest census form in history. It takes about 10 minutes to complete.
- Planning to ignore it? Why? Have you not realized yet how important this is? Well, census workers will visit households that do not return forms to provide assistance. It’s not a threat. It’s because the assumption is that you didn’t fill it out because you need help doing so.
- It’s confidential. By law, census workers have been sworn to protect your information.
What can you do?
- Participate in community activities.
- Spread the word about the 2010 census to your neighbors, family, friends, everyone!