On May 1, 2010 an estimated 635,000 temporary workers in the United States are going door-to-door to count those households which did not respond to the census form sent in the mail. This second phase of the census is scheduled to last until July 10, 2010.
Only ten questions are asked this year in a shortened form. The Census Bureau wants to know your name, sex, age, date of birth, race, whether you are of Hispanic or Latino origin, the number of people living in the household, relationship of the people living in the household, and whether you own or rent your home.
The mail participation rate across the country was 72%, which is the same as 10 years ago. Mail returns in New York State are well below the national average which puts the state dangerously close to losing two congressional seats because of the declining population. In the city of Buffalo alone, only 60% of its citizens have sent in their forms.
As mandated by the Constitution, a census has been taken by the government every 10 years since 1790 in an effort to count every person living in the country, both citizens and non-citizens. The door-to-door census takers not only visit homes that have not yet responded, they also count persons with no fixed address and those who live in nursing homes, prisons, shelters and other non-standard housing. It has been determined that the 1990 census missed an estimated 8 million people, mostly immigrants and urban minorities, and somehow managed to double-count 4 million white Americans.
Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann stated that she and her family will not be fully filling out the 2010 census forms. They will only indicate the number of people in the household because the Constitution does not require any information beyond that.
Census counts are important in the redistricting of local communities and the reapportionment of congressional seats. A state could gain or lose seats based on its population.
The totals also affect funding to the local community. Approximately $400 billion in federal funding is distributed to communities each year. Population data determines the funding of the following programs and many others.
Head Start programs, WIC food grants, public transportation, road construction, programs for the elderly, and emergency food and shelter programs.
Census data also help potential homeowners learn demographic information about the community they are seeking to join. Corporations need this information to decide on locations of food stores, pharmacies and other essential services.
To avoid fraudulent activity and scams, it is important for citizens to be aware of the following:
The Census Bureau does not conduct the 2010 Census over the internet.
The Census Bureau does not send emails about participation in the 2010 Census.
The Census Bureau does not ask for your social security number or credit card number.
The Census Bureau does not ask for money or a donation or a request on behalf of a political party.
It is the duty of all citizens to respect this request for census data from the government in order to bring us the advantages that are prevalent in a democratic society.