In 2010, the U.S. census will define who we are as a nation. Taken every 10 years, the census affects political representation and directs the allocation of billions of dollars in government funding. As an elected official, I work daily to secure the best interests of my constituents and to ignite positive change for our community. By becoming a 2010 Census partner, you can help ensure that everyone in our community is counted so that our community receives its fair share of important services and resources. Achieving a complete and accurate 2010 Census is in our hands.
The Census: A Snapshot
- The U.S. Constitution requires a national census once every 10 years.
- The census is a count of everyone residing in the United States: in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. This includes people of all ages, races, ethnic groups, both citizens and non-citizens.
- The 2010 Census will create hundreds of thousands of temporary jobs across the nation.
It’s in Our Hands: Your Participation in the Census Matters
- Every year, more than $300 billion in federal funds is awarded to states and communities based on census data. That’s more than $3 trillion over a 10-year period.
- Census data guide planning for new hospitals, schools and other services.
- Census data is used to determine the most need for additional social services, including who receives community development block grants and other grant programs essential to many communities.
Completing the 2010 Census Questionnaire: Simple and Safe
- The 2010 Census questionnaire asks only a few simple questions of each person-name, relationship, gender, age and date of birth, race, and whether the respondent owns or rents his or her home. This simple, short questionnaire takes just a few minutes to complete and return by mail.
- The Census Bureau does not release or share information that identifies individual respondents or their household for 72 years.
Why should everyone participate in the 2010 Census?
The 2010 Census will shape the future of your community, define your voice in Congress and generate local employment opportunities for your constituents.
- Census information helps determine locations for schools, roads, hospitals, child-care and senior citizen centers, and more.
- Businesses use census data to locate supermarkets, shopping centers, new housing and other facilities.
- The census determines how many seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives as well as the boundaries of legislative districts.
- Local communities use census data to gauge the financial health of the community and the future of vital social service programs. Census data inform a diverse range of local initiatives, such as justifying the need for an after-school program to designating urban revitalization areas.
How will the 2010 Census differ from previous census efforts?
In the last census, one in six households received a long questionnaire asking for detailed socioeconomic information. In 2010, every residence will receive a short questionnaire that is simple and fast to complete and return. More detailed information will be collected annually from a small percentage of the population through the American Community Survey.
Will the information the Census Bureau collects remain confidential?
Yes. Every Census Bureau worker takes an oath for life to protect the confidentiality of census responses. Violation would result in a jail term of up to five years and/or fine of up to $250,000. By law, the Census bureau cannot share an individual’s answers with anyone, including welfare and immigration agencies.
Why are elected officials important partners in the 2010 Census campaign?
More than 140,000 organizations supported Census 2000, including state and local governments, community-and faith-based organizations, schools, media, businesses and others. By joining forces with partners, the Census Bureau has a far greater chance to reach every U.S. resident than by attempting this monumental task alone. As an elected official, you can communicate the importance and safety of completing the census questionnaire to constituents, including those isolated by language or geography. You can form a Complete Count Committee, hold town hall meetings, include census information in newsletters and Web sites, and provide space for the Census Bureau to test and train.
2010 Census Timeline: Key Dates
Fall 2008 - Recruitment begins for local census jobs for early census operations.
Spring 2009 - Census employees go door-to-door to update address list nationwide.
Fall 2009 - Recruitment begins for census takers needed for peak workload in 2010.
February - March 2010 - Census questionnaires are mailed or delivered to households.
April 1, 2010 - Census Day
April-July 2010 - Census takers visit households that did not return a questionnaire mail.
December 2010 - By law, Census Bureau delivers population counts to President for apportionment.
March 2011 - By law, Census Bureau completes delivery of redistricting data to states.
For more information about the 2010 Census, please go to www.census.gov/2010 census.