Simplified Census forms coming in 2010

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By Bryan Marshall

When the United States Census hits mailboxes in 2010 the process will be simplified for Grant County residents.

“The head of household is responsible for answering 10 primary questions with an additional seven questions for each additional household member,” said Gayle Brown, partnership specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau. “A postage paid envelope is included with the Census mailing for easy return.”

The Census form will be mailed out mid-March and should be returned by April 1, 2010.

If the form is not completed by the deadline, the government will deliver another form to the home address with a new due date.

If the second due date is not honored, a Census employee will make contact to obtain the completed Census form.

Brown said filling out Census forms are crucial for several reasons.

“Each state’s membership in the House of Representatives is determined based upon the population reported by the Census,” she said. “In the year 2000, the state of Kentucky lost a representative in the House of Representatives due to the decennial Census population count. The response rate to the KY 2000 Census Mail In Program was 66 percent, clearly indicating that the population count for the state of Kentucky was not complete.”

There are financial implications as well.

More than $435 billion in funding is distributed annually based, in part, upon the results reported by the decennial Census.

For each person accounted for on the Census form, Brown said approximately $1,200 is allocated for community improvements.

The funding is allocated for road improvements, faith and education based grants, emergency services, scientific research/distribution, Title I and Headstart programs, Housing Rehabilitation, Services for People in Poverty and more.

For each 1 percent increase in the mail in Census response rate, approximately $1 billion in tax dollars also are saved that could be better invested in the local community, Brown said.

Census data also is used for reapportionment of congressional and school district boundaries, identifying economic trends, planning outreach strategies, assessing spread of potential disease, analyzing military potential, determining consumer needs, establishing fair market rents, placement of new facilities and genealogical research.  

If a Census form is not received at the home mailbox, one may be picked up from one of the many local Be Counted sites, which will be announced at www.Census.gov.  

Questionnaire Assistance Centers also will be opened locally to provide help to those needing the form read and scribed in English.

The Census form has been printed in six different languages, the directions printed in over 55 different languages and translator assistance is available by making an appointment by calling the telephone number on the back of the Census form.

Brown said it is important people know that specific Census information is kept confidential.

“Census information is not shared with the Department of Justice, Immigration or Social Services,” she said. “The purpose of the Census is simply to count the population of the United States. It is not utilized as a tool to recover back taxes, outstanding fees for parking tickets, back child support or deportation of illegal immigrants.”

For more information, visit www.census.gov.