The Census Is Coming!

I like to consider myself the head of my household.

Even though I live with two very beautiful roommates, I take charge of utilities and dealing with the landlord- so when I saw a letter addressed to the “The Resident At,” I grabbed it and opened it up to see it was a lovely letter from the U.S. Census Bureau. The letter was warning me that the 2010 Census form will soon be coming my way in about a week. It was short, to the point and had instructions for reaching the 2010 Census website in many languages.

I could go visit the site and play with the 2000 Census map to see how my neighborhood did the last time this happened (Arlington had 72% participation in 2000) or learn why it’s actually important, but I was too lazy to do all that work- so I asked my high school friend Mike. He moved down here a couple of years ago to get a job working for the… you guessed it, Census Bureau.

His three things you should know about this year’s Census:

  1. More than 400 billion dollars in federal funds are allocated every year based on census population data.
  2. It’s quick and easy- 10 minutes, 10 questions.
  3. For every 1% increase in the participation rate, it saves the federal government 90 million dollars in taxpayers dollars.

That last point was interesting, when I asked him about saving money he explained that those that don’t fill out the form can expect a knock on the door, from a Census enumerator looking for the info. It costs $25  for the government to send an enumerator out to count a person, while it only costs the government $.42 to buy a stamp when you send the form back in the pre-paid envelope after you’ve answered the questions.

What kind of questions will be on the form? Mike told me you can check it out online which I did and it’s pretty basic stuff- nothing too revealing just stuff about who lives there. I mean a Census is just about counting people right?

Well thanks to my pal Mike I’m all briefed and ready to fill out that bad boy when it comes in the mail- will you be?


5 Comments so far

  1. Michael (unregistered) on March 9th, 2010 @ 12:08 am

    To clarify, the census form comes in a pre-paid postage envelope, you don’t need to buy a stamp. :-)

  2. Ann McLaren (unregistered) on March 9th, 2010 @ 9:13 am

    Is filling out the census form a legal requirement or is it voluntary? If it’s compulsory, what’s the penalty for non-compliance?

  3. Michael (unregistered) on March 9th, 2010 @ 10:07 am

    Completing the 2010 Census is mandated by the constitution and through various laws to fulfill statutes set up by Congress, but we reach out to the public. Please see the form online @ and roll over the question for a more in-depth look at the information and why we ask you it.

    While the law makes it a crime not to answer the decennial census, authorizing the courts to impose a fine of up to $5,000
    for failure to respond, the census views this approach as a last resort.

    Rather than seek the imposition of penalties, we encourage response by explaining the importance of the questions asked and how the information benefits the community. It has been our experience that most people will respond once they understand the significance of their participation.

    If a form is not received by the end of April, an enumerator will pay a visit starting in May to obtain a face-to-face interview. Repeated attempts are made by enumerators, greatly increasing the cost of the census. Residents can save the country this expense by mailing in the forms.

    Without widespread participation, the Census Bureau can’t produce
    quality data. That’s why it’s so important for a household to

  4. Michael (unregistered) on March 10th, 2010 @ 1:08 pm

    Wow I had no idea it was so serious, but I guess that makes sense.

  5. amy helman (unregistered) on March 15th, 2010 @ 4:33 pm

    i lost my census form i need another one sent to my home i live at [address removed by Admin]

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