Local Participation Means Success for 2012 Census of Governments

Article excerpt

In October 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau will launch the Census of Governments--a complete census of all units of state and local governments in the United States.

The Census of Governments is conducted every five years for years ending in "2" and "7" and is the only source of comprehensive uniform statistics on state and local governments.

It collects organizational data (characteristics and number of governments); employment data (number of employees and payroll); and finance data (revenues, expenditures, debt, assets and pensions).

There are about 90,000 governments in the United States that fall under six types of governments: states, counties, cities, townships, independent schools districts and special districts.

Local governments that are identified in the survey include: counties, cities; townships, special districts (such as water districts, fire districts, library districts, mosquito abatement districts) and school districts.

With participation in this important survey, the Census of Governments will provide authoritative benchmark figures of public finance and public employment; will classify local government organizations, powers and activities; and will measure federal, state and local fiscal relationships.

"Every city has a strong interest in the successful completion of the 2012 Census of Governments, as it will identify the scope and nature of the nation's local government sector," said NLC Executive Director Donald J. Borut. "It identifies, measures and provides insight into state and local government activity and serves as the foundation for developing national economic and public policy. …