What is the Census? It’s a count of everyone living in the United States, including all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. It counts all ages, races, ethnic groups, and citizens and non-citizens alike. The U.S. Constitution requires a national census every 10 years. Why is an accurate Census important? It determines the distribution of billions of dollars in government funding each year for critical community services, such as new hospitals, roads, and schools. It also determines each state’s Congressional representation and is used by local decision-makers in community planning endeavors. When will the Census questionnaires arrive? March 2010. What questions will I answer? Just a few simple ones: name, relationship, gender, age, date of birth, race, and whether you own or rent. That’s it! Just stick the completed form back in the return envelope, and you’ve been counted! What about my privacy? Federal law protects the personal information you share during the Census. Do I have to complete the questionnaire? Yes, it’s required by law. Households that do not respond will be called or visited by a Census worker. Penalties and fines can be levied against those who willfully refuse to respond. HowdoI tellthedifferencebetween a U.S.Census worker and a con artist? U.S. Census workers will have a badge, handheld device, Census Bureau canvas bag, and a confidentiality notice. U.S. Census workers will not ask for your Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers, nor will employees solicit donations. They will not contact you by email. What is the American Community Survey? Commonly known as “the long form,” it’s another Census survey required by law and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau to a small sampling of addresses in every county. This survey provides economic, social, demographic, and housing information to communities every year to help them make informed decisions concerning future planning and growth.
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