From pro-Census 2010 television commercials to a rap song telling us (see below), “we can’t move forward until you mail it back,” the federal government is urging citizens to fill out the 10-question form arriving in homes in March and return it in the postage-paid envelope.
Why? It will help determine how $400 billion in federal funds are spent – be it for schools, public works projects, job-training centers, emergency services, hospitals or senior centers. Also, accurate counts guarantee adequate political representation. The Census count determines how many seats a state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.
If you have any questions about the survey, the Library has agreed to serve as a Questionnaire Assistance Center from March 22 through April 19. Census workers will be available to meet privately with you. During those dates, help will be available from 12:00 noon until 4:00 PM on Saturdays and from 5:00 to 8:00 PM, Monday through Thursday in Library Meeting Room B.
The U.S. Census Bureau is bound by the U.S. Constitution to take a count of every person in the United States and Puerto Rico every ten years. A higher return mailing rate means the Census Bureau will have to spend less money following up with canvassers going door-to-door to count folks who did not respond by mail.
For more information about the Census, what questions are on the form, and why an accurate count is important, visit U.S. Census 2010. For information about how an accurate count is important for the state of Michigan, visit the state’s site -- Count MI In!.
To find census figures for the nation, the state and municipalities, visit the U.S. Census site. The Library also has the census volumes for Michigan from 1970 until 2000. It also owns a handsome volume Census Atlas of the United States: Census 2000 Special Reports, which illustrates a wealth of data from the 2000 Census, along with statistics for earlier years.