Thursday, March 11, 2010

What does the 2010 Census mean for you?

You're probably tired of hearing about the 2010 Census, how important it is for you to participate, what it means for federal aid in our area, etc. Or, maybe you haven't really thought about it at all, and tomorrow a letter from the U.S. Census Bureau will be sitting in your mailbox for you to open or throw away. Either way, it's never a bad idea to be informed - so we've compiled a brief set of facts for you to consider about this 2010 Census.

Facts You Might Already Know

  • The Census, among many other things, will be used to allocate billions of dollars of Federal Aid over the next ten years - and this aid is based on the demographics of each area of the country. 
From, "Federal funding is distributed to the City of Richmond based on our population...Help our city provide quality schools, quality healthcare, quality transportation.."
  • The Census is used to help draw Congressional Districts and administer Electoral College votes to the each state = correct total of people located in a district = correct number of representatives elected in your area = correct government representation for your community.
  • The Census questionnaire is one of the shortest in history and contains only 10 questions (Click here to view an interactive preview of the form) = this civic will duty take an average of 10 minutes of your time - much less than serving on a jury or filing taxes!
  • The Census is confidential by law, and information released to the Census Bureau may not be released to any other federal organization or law enforcement.

Facts You Might Not Know - But Can Now Tell Your Friends
  • Richmond's mail participation rate in the 2000 Census (65%) was below the national average (72%) in 2000. Doubt my information-gathering skills? Click here to find out for yourself, and compare Richmond to other areas of the county.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau study, Federal Aid to States for Fiscal Aid 2008, Virginia ranked 49th out of 50 states in Federal Aid to State and Local Governments per Capita. Click here to view the entire report for yourself. Federal grants included Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Agriculture, and other services.
  • From the AP: "In 2000, the Census Bureau noted for the first time an overcount of 1.3 million people, mostly from duplicate counts of more affluent whites with multiple homes. About 4.5 million people were ultimately missed, mostly blacks and Hispanics."

Of course, there is much more information regarding the upcoming Census than we've listed here. If you are interested in learning more about the 2010 Census in general, or jobs with the Census Bureau, be sure to visit their website for more information.

You can also visit the Richmond Public Library to view past Census data, including a Census Atlas that combines Census data from 1790 through 2000:

Census Atlas of the United States: Census 2000 Special Reports
United States Bureau of Census

If you wish to take a look at the type of data and data patterns the census will produce, look no further than this Census Atlas. From the catalog:

"This is the first comprehensive atlas published by the US Census Bureau since the early 20th century. It is divided into topical themes and chapters with simple and clean yet colorful maps, charts, and graphs that visually display demographic data from 1790 to 2000. The demographic data are arranged in such a way that readers can get a historical snapshot of the changes and fluctuations that have occurred over time."

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