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News > Safe, secure 2010 census to decide fate of tax dollars, state representation
U.S. census
The 2010 U.S. census is currently underway. (Courtesy graphic/U.S. Census Bureau)
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Safe, secure 2010 census to decide fate of tax dollars, state representation

Posted 3/6/2010   Updated 3/3/2010 Email story   Print story


by Maj. Kallece Quinn
302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

3/6/2010 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- April 1 is commonly known as "April Fool's Day," but for 2010, it's more important to think of it as "Census Day," the day Americans will be counted.

The first stage of the 2010 census is currently in progress as government workers verify home addresses of all citizens in the country.

Starting March 15, the U.S. Census Bureau will send out the 2010 census questionnaire. Afterwards, more than 100,000 census workers will begin counting each person in the United States and will collect information about every person living at each address including name, age, gender, race and other relevant data.

So why should servicemembers fill out the 2010 census questionnaire? This easy and safe questionnaire can influence government power and is considered a civic duty for all Americans.

The census is mandated in Article 1, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution and has been conducted every decade since 1790. The 2010 census results will influence and determine the number of representatives each state gets in the U.S House of Representative through a reapportion process. According to a document released by the Pikes Peak Area Complete Count Committee, "Colorado has gained a seat in three of the last four censuses."

Additionally, the census can give government decision makers and public servants a demographic picture that will help determine the allocation of federal funding.

"An accurate census count for communities surrounding military installations will provide the local community the justification they need to request federal funds to support local programs and services," said Capt. Maren Barney, 310th Space Wing Public Affairs officer at Schriever AFB and one of the military liaisons for the Colorado Springs U.S Census.

In Colorado, each person counted represents about $1,000 per year in federal funding and "for the Colorado Springs area, that equates to more than $5 billion over the next 10 years," Captain Barney said. "As military members, we have a vested interest in building strong communities. Our children attend local schools, we use hospitals and emergency services as well as roads that are federally funded and allocated based on census numbers. Thus, it is in our own best interests to make sure the 2010 census is accurate and complete."

Furthermore, the 2010 census is advertised as easy. The questionnaire is 10 questions long and is expected to take 4 to 10 minutes depending on the household size.

And what about privacy concerns? The census is safe for servicemembers to take part in. According to official 2010 census statements, "The data collected is absolutely confidential, reported only at aggregate levels and protected by severe penalties for disclosure." The census will also not ask for a social security number, but will ask for a contact phone number.

"This phone number will only be used if a census worker needs to talk with you about what was written on the census questionnaire, as census worker will not contact any one by e-mail," said Captain Barney. "For example, if your writing is illegible or you accidentally counted your dog as a family member, then a census worker would call you to clarify your information."

Likewise, servicemembers should know that if a census worker comes to your door, they will have a badge, a handheld device and an official confidential notice. The worker will again not ask for your social security number, bank accounts, credit cards or solicit donations. Census workers will only visit residences that have not submitted complete questionnaires.

For more specific questions, such as how to complete the census if someone is in their household is deployed on April 1, 2010, visit the official census Web site. Captain Barney pointed out the Web site includes answers to many frequently asked questions as well as a preview of the census form.

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