Sunday, February 7, 2010

Census 2010 - how important is it to us?

The simple answer - VERY! It is a trillion+ dollar issue, and the related decisions based on the Census endures until the next census in 2020! That is a long long time. We in Texas (and especially Montgomery County) are part of the few states and counties that are growing rapidly. We have the responsibility to ourselves to make ourselves known to the Census Bureau. The U.S. Census was established to count people so that they could be represented by our government which is for the people and by the people. I am a partner on the team, having taken a certification class, so I am able to "see" the process, and I feel comfortable with the process.  The process is important and safe. Ten questions will be asked in ten minutes lasting for ten years.

Census Day will be April 1st. Questions will be answered on what your household is anticipated to be on that day. For example, if your child is going to get married and leave the household, that "child" should be interviewed separately, so that person can establish location and their residence situation independently.

Forms will be mailed to your home in March. Census workers will subsequently be visiting the homes of people who have not answered the questionnaire.

Every year, some $300 billion is distributed to states and communities based in large part on census data. In a high growth area, typically there are financial issues associated with the growth and maintenance of infrastructure and projects that are required, which would not normally be required if the population was stable and self sufficient. We need every person to be counted so that we get our share of the funds. The government's representation in decision-making for those funds is reorganized based on the resultant numbers.

How is the process safe? Do you know that if there is an illegal activity observed by a census taker at the home where that person is conducting business of the Census Bureau, the census worker is sworn to not report what was seen? He is not exempt from being summoned to court, but he will not cause any issue with the law. The worker is not an arm of law enforcement, nor responsible in any way for what he sees at your home.

The purpose of the visit is strictly to count people, nothing else, leaving the household as he found it, without any risk to the inhabitants. It is all about numbers - identifying the number of potential volunteers for community services, the number of voters, demographics of voters and residents for government programs and grants, etc etc. Numbers! Numbers to help the community, with no risk! The only risk is not being counted - then you have failed to help your community, your government to make decisions, to represent you. So please, do your part and get the word out to those on your mailing lists and social networks. This is a national effort, and you have the opportunity to promote the process.

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