The next United States Census will be taken in 2010 and preparations for its success have been underway for quite sometime.
Most people know what the census is but few appreciate how important the data gathered can be. The goal of the census is to count everyone residing in the United States including both citizens and non-citizens. The data helps the federal government to allocate funding, determines how many seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, guides local decision-makers on where to build roads, schools, and hospitals, determines boundaries for state and local legislative and congressional districts, and helps businesses decide where to locate their facilities.
The questionnaire for the 2010 Census has been simplified and only contains 10 questions. Households are asked about key demographic information including whether they rent or own, their address, the names, and genders and races of others living in the household. The individual who whose name is listed as the owner or renter should fill out the questionnaire. A smaller group of people will participate in the annual American Community Survey or other surveys in order to collect additional socioeconomic information that traditionally had been collected through past censuses.
Information about the upcoming census is being distributed in communities throughout the country. The local Media Specialist for the 2010 Census, Lynne Choy, told the Mirror that they are still looking to fill “job openings for the non-response operation for census takers.” These workers will go into the homes of those who didn’t return their census questionnaire by the deadline. “In all the Los Angeles region is hiring 50,000 temporary workers for the 2010 Census. The Los Angeles region contains 19 counties in Southern California and the State of Hawaii.”
Households should be receiving their census questionnaires in the mail by mid-March 2010 and they should be postmarked by April 1. Census takers will visit those households that did not return their questionnaires between May and June. President Barack Obama will receive the population counts by December 31, 2010 and all states will receive their redistricting data by March 2011.
The first census took place in 1790 and was used to determine how many seats each state should have in the House of Representatives. The Census Bureau was established in 1902. In recent times a full census is taken every ten years and an economic census is taken every five years. Other annual surveys look at trends in local communities, population estimates, and different portraits of the nation’s economy.
Additional information can be found at 2010census.gov or by calling 800.992.3530.