Happy holidays! I hope that you and yours have been able to enjoy the special times with family and friends that the extended holiday season brings to the yearís end.
Soon, though, the new year will be starting, and times of celebration and remembrance will give to way to a widespread focus on the future. In private lives, businesses, community organizations and government at all levels, resolutions will be made, goals will be identified, and plans for attaining them pursued.
Taking the long view is the U.S. Census Bureauís mission as it charts the demographics of our nation, our states and their geographic subdivisions over decades and centuries. Indeed, the first census was conducted at the direction of the first Congress in 1790 under the general supervision of Thomas Jefferson, who was then Secretary of State. Congress assigned the responsibility for taking the census to the marshals of the U.S. judicial districts in New York and the others of the 13 original states, and the districts of Kentucky, Maine, Vermont and the Southwest Territory (Tennessee).
Since then, of course, many changes have been made in the way the census is taken, but, interestingly, one historical note has echoed down through every decade: the accuracy of the census was questioned in 1790 by Jefferson and President George Washington, who expected the count to be larger than 3.9 million individuals.
These days, hundreds of thousands census takers have replaced the marshals of the early days to count a population that had burgeoned by the time of the 2000 census to 281.4 million. The Buffalo regional office of the U.S. Census Bureau is now gearing up for the 2010 decennial census by recruiting candidates for approximately 1,000 job openings that will become available in 2009 and 2010 in the 10-county Western New York region. The bureau is currently testing candidates for the temporary, part-time jobs, with hiring set to begin in March of 2009. Depending on duties and location, the jobs will pay $13.00 - $16.50 per hour.
With many people here in the Tonawandas being squeezed by the national recession, I am working to get the word out in our community about these upcoming employment opportunities with the Buffalo regional census office. Interested individuals should call toll-free 1-866-861-2010 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to arrange to take the test required of all candidates for the census jobs.
Those hired will help gather information that will impact the number of seats our state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2011; the amount of federal aid weíll receive; planning for schools, hospitals, and other services; and even business decisions about where to expand in Western New York. Itís important work, and the associated paychecks are sure to be particularly welcome in tough economic times.
We can all help ensure that a whole host of decisions involved in planning for the future will be based on accurate information by resolving now to take the time to fill out and send back the census questionnaires when they show up in our mailboxes in early 2010.