Wednesday, March 10, 2010

You Count - Take the Time for the U.S. Census

The clip is about 10 years old, the numbers have changed some and the issue regarding sampling vs. actual door-to-door head count isn't on the table right now, but the lesson regarding critical importance of the census is as fresh as today's news.

As a matter of fact, it is today's news!

It's important that everyone be counted and that's what the census is all about.

As mentioned in the video segment, political representation is determined by population. Federal funding for infrastructure and services are determined by the outcome of the census.

It's costly to inaccurately count the country's population, "Every 1 percent improvement in the 2010 rate is expected to save taxpayers about $85 million." And an inaccurate count jeopardizes the quality of life for poor, urban and minority communities the most.

"Historically, the census has undercounted minorities, especially African-Americans and Hispanics living in big cities. The Census Bureau noted that its 2000 count overcounted 1.3 million people, most of them wealthy whites with multiple residences, while missing about 4.5 million others, mostly blacks and Hispanics."

"The census isn't just a quaint Constitutional requirement. These once-every-10-years counts determine whether states gain or lose seats in Congress -- and dictate how at least $478 billion in federal spending on social programs from Medicaid to foster care to vocational education services..."

"A special board created by Congress to monitor the 2000 Census estimates that the 2000 undercount is costing 31 states plus the District of Columbia at least $4.1 billion dollars in federal funds between 2002 and 2012 -- $3.7 billion of it in Medicare, the federal program that funds state health care for the needy. The biggest losses were in California, Texas and Georgia."

"Even in states that were well-counted overall, urban areas lost money because of high undercount rates. Massachusetts and Illinois, for example, were both well-counted, but both the Boston and Chicago areas were undercounted, costing them tens of millions of dollars in federal aid."

So whomever you are, wherever you are, take the time to fill out the census form. It takes about 10 minutes, to answer 10 questions to make sure that you, your family and neighbors count in 2010.

Oh, how many people live in the United States? The count as of this writing is 308,834,139 people. Go ahead, amaze your friends and family!

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