Census 2010 - Ten Reasons That Count Including Social Networking

The national Census is like a celestial comet - or a hibernating cicada - it can only be seen one time every 10 years. With a roll-out starting in February, 2010,  this year's survey differs from years past - check out what's new - note the misconceptions - but most important it's imperative that each and every one of us be counted.

The 2010 Census will provide a clear and detailed picture of our nation, and its results will be used to determine how $400 billion in federal tax money is spent in states and communities. Here are ten reasons why it's important and easy for all us to be counted.

1- Social Networking - The Census has joined the Web 2.0 generation as we can now receive updates on Twitter and Facebook and watch YouTube videos to obtain quick overviews and FAQs.

Census Social NetworkingCensus Social Networking
Santos is a bootmaker, but what he offers isnt just footwear, its the personal touch of an artist. A humble immigrant, his boots are worn by country stars and governors. For Santos and others, the census offers language guides in 59 languages, so no matter what language you speak, the form is a perfect fit.

2- Less Questions- This year's form has less questions than questionnaires sent out in the 70s and 80s. Less Memory is required - No one will be required to report personal identification numbers or have to remember past events such as the year a family moved into the house. The form you will receive by mail in March includes only 10 questions that can be answered in 10 minutes. While the form cannot be filled out online, a PDF of the form can be printed out from your computer.

Census 10 QuestionsCensus 10 Questions

3- Privacy Protected - Items that pry into sensitive personal matters are gone from this census- this year's census is promoted as the simplest form in more than a century. Many fear that if they fill out the census, the information will be given to the immigration service and they will be deported. Bronx Borough President, Ruben Diaz Jr insists that those who are undocumented have nothing to fear from the census."We're telling them no-one is going to come knocking on your door (for that reason), this is not about the Immigration and Naturalization Service, this is confidential.

4- Assistance - The Census Bureau plans to provide a great deal of help to anyone needing assistance. For example, a bilingual or Spanish form will be delivered to many households where Spanish is the primary language.

5- Walk-In Centers - There will be numerous well-publicized walk-in questionnaire centers around the city and county for people who do not receive the form by mail for some reason - or for those who prefer the form in a different language.

6- Return By Mail - April 1 is designated as official Census Day. Sort of like “tax day,” April 1 is the latest time when the census asks that you return your forms by mail. It is an important day to remember for people who don’t like the idea of a “census-taker” knocking on their door. The best way to avoid someone coming to your home is to answer the questions completely and return the forms by April 1.

7- Current Law - The current law on the census passed Congress in January 2009. It is Title 13 of U.S. Code, and it requires people to respond to the census, and to answer all the questions. If a household reports only the number of people, the form must be treated as incomplete and the Census Bureau will send a census-taker sometime after the April 1 Census Day to collect the full information. This is the “non-response follow-up” phase of the census.

8- Congress - Politicians care because they know the census has powerful effects on political boundaries. Once the population totals are reported to the president in December, the process of reassigning seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and Electoral College will begin. This affects how all of us will be represented in Congress as well - the more seats - the more representation.

9- Census Bureau Road Tour - Census officials are criss-crossing the US with signature blue trailers between now and April, targeting communities where traditionally people have been reluctant to be counted. Traveling for a total of 1,547 days and more than 150,000 miles across the country, 13 road tour vehicles will provide the public with an educational, engaging and interactive experience that brings the 2010 Census to life.

10- Community Budgets - The census numbers significantly affect public budgets for all sorts of community initiatives. As a result, every individual and family can help make the community a better one by standing up to be counted. In this way, the census puts power back in the hands of  the people.

"Since 1790, the census has counted residents, not citizens," says Mr Diaz, pointing out that many residents have children who are US citizens, and therefore it is in their interest to get more government money for education.

Putting the politics of the census aside, the effort to count the US is a mini-stimulus package of its own. The promotional blitz is costing over $300 million, and the Census Bureau is expected to hire 1.2 million temporary workers to administer the census, creating jobs in this fragile economy. The 2010 Census will help communities receive more than $400 billion in federal funds each year for hospitals, job training centers, schools, senior centers, public works projects like bridges and tunnels and emergency services.

The Census is a privilege - it is in everyone's best interest to stand up and be counted.