Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Oh, it's Census time again

I received a letter yesterday and I thought it was my family's Census questionnaire. It was not. It was a letter explaining how I will receive a letter. Silly, maybe, but the content is not.

"About one week from now, you will receive a 2010 Census form in the mail." The first line was bold. I'm not exaggerating.

The letter shared information that I already know. "Your response is important. Results from the 2010 Census will be used to help each community get its fair share of government funds for highways, schools, health facilities, and many other programs you and your neighbors need. Without a complete accurate census, your community may not receive its fair share."

The letter from U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves is a great reminder. I heard some complaints about the Census TV commercials, but I thought they were pretty good at getting the message out that your response is important. Unfortunately, you can't just send out a questionnaire with instructions and hope people will respond. The Census Bureau has to be proactive. In fact, they'll visit if you don't respond.

I hope their efforts will pay off in the large return on the questionnaires. It's important to stand up and be counted as part of the Census, because it determines how federal funds make their into our community. In this economy, I think we need all the federal dollars sent our way that is possible.

While it may be an important task, it doesn't take a lot of time. It takes about 10 minutes to answer 10 questions. And, bonus — it only happens once every 10 years. I guess most people spend more time watching TV in one evening than they'll spend filling out Census forms over their lifetime.

If you have questions about the Census, visit the Web site and learn more about it. The site explains the process and how the information collected remains private. Be sure to fill it out when you get your form, your community's share of about $400 billion in federal dollars depends on your response.

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