2010 - the count begins
Wanda English Burnett, Editor
Although the actual date for the next census is April
2010, the process has begun. The census is a count of everyone living
in the United States, done every ten years, and is required by law.
Tamie Tatum, Census Partnership Specialist, was in the area last
week getting town council presidents to sign an agreement (Indiana
Partnership Agreement). This agreement means the town government
entities will work in cooperation with the census representatives
to make sure everyone in their area is counted.
It is imperative to the quality of life for residents to make sure
they are counted. Tatum explained that every person translates into
$4,000 per year in federal funds. This means until the next census,
which takes place every ten years, towns stand to gain or lose $40,000
for each person. That is not an exact dollar figure the town physically
receives, but is seen in various agencies ranging from care for
the elderly to roads and bridges.
Federal funds for a variety of agencies are based on data collected
by the census. This affects services for the elderly, building new
roads and bridges, schools, dollars for highway safety and public
transportation systems, location of police and fire departments,
or perhaps where to locate job training centers.
The data collected also impacts how congressional seats are distributed
to states, and what community services the federal government will
provide. These could include senior lunch programs and child care
The numbers also help businesses to identify where to locate factories,
shopping centers, banks, offices and more. Much hinges on an accurate
In the past many people received a short form, but others would
get a long one, taking a lot of time and asking questions many people
felt to be too personal. This year the short form only is being
used. This asks: name, sex, age, date of birth, race, ethnicity,
relationship, and housing tenure. It takes just a few minutes to
Information collected is protected. According to Tatum, it is highly
confidential. Under Title 13, which is an airtight law, census data
are strictly prohibited from being shared with any other federal,
state, or local agency or any foreign government.
A court of law cannot subpoena this information and it is not subject
to the Freedom of Information Act or the Patriot Act. The Internal
Revenue Service, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau
of Investigation, police, military, and welfare agencies cannot
tap into data collected for the census.
The census dates back to 1790 when the first count was carried out
by US Marshals on horseback. Then, 3.9 million people were counted.
The latest count in 2000, saw more than 281 million people counted.
Just as spring brings the planting season, census partners are hoping
to plant the idea of the importance of being counted in rural areas
across the nation. Its important for every single person
to be counted, urged Tatum.
Census representatives have already been going door-to-door getting
preliminary information in some areas. There will be more. This
process also creates several temporary jobs. In 2000, 860,000 temporary
workers were hired.
If youre interested in becoming part of this process as a
paid worker, you can contact www.census.gov/2010census jobs or call