Magazine article Government Finance Review

Making Census 2010 a Success

Magazine article Government Finance Review

Making Census 2010 a Success

Article excerpt

To achieve an accurate assessment of the number and location of the people living in the United States, the U.S. Constitution mandates a census of the population every 10 years. The census population totals determine which states gain or lose representation in Congress, as well as the amount of state and federal funding communities receive over the course of the decade. Data from the 2010 Census will directly affect how more than $4 trillion is allocated to local, state, and tribal governments over the next 10 years. The facts gathered in the census also help shape decisions about issues such as public health, neighborhood improvements, transportation, education, and senior services.

The goal of the 2010 Census is to count all residents living in the United States on April 1, 2010. For the first time since 1930, all U.S. addresses will receive a census short form. To help ensure the nation's increasingly diverse population can answer the questionnaire, about 13 million bilingual Spanish/English forms will be mailed out, and questionnaires in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Russian--as well as language guides in 59 languages--will be available on request. The U.S. Census Bureau does not ask about the legal status of respondents in any of its surveys and census programs.

By 2010, there will be an estimated 310 million people residing in the United States. Counting each person is one of the largest operations the federal government undertakes. For example, the Census Bureau will recruit nearly 3.8 million applicants for 2010 Census field operations. Of these applicants, the Census Bureau will hire about 1.4 million temporary employees, some of whom will use GPS-equipped handheld computers to update maps and ensure there is an accurate address list for the mailing of the census questionnaires.

One way to help ensure that everyone is counted is to form Complete Count Committees--volunteer teams consisting of community leaders, faith-based groups, schools, businesses, media outlets, and others who are appointed by elected officials and work together to make sure entire communities are counted. …

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