Last weekend, I had occasion to discuss our upcoming census.
The Census Bureau has taken great efforts to protect the confidentiality of residents. Beginning in February, advance
mailouts begin; in mid-March the questionnaire will be mailed to every address in the state. Returning it quickly saves
federal dollars because less federal money is spent on follow-up visits.
Households that don't return the questionnaire will be visited by census counters between May and July, resulting in
extra labor costs of $70 per person (per state demographer).
The 2010 Census is 10 questions of basic information (name, age, gender, race and an accurate number living in the
It does not ask if one is a legal resident. The information obtained through the 2010 Census will not be shared with
any other U.S. agency.
In fact, census workers take a lifelong vow never to divulge any information gained through their job, such as a
person's legal status.
Region 10 has five of the fastest growing states (Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming) in the country, the
largest Native American population of any region (more than 28 percent of all Native Americans living in the U.S.); and
the third-largest Hispanic population of any region.
Census numbers mean power and dollars for the next 10 years. They determine redistricting at the national, state and
local levels, including how many congressional representatives our state receives and the number of electoral
More than $300 billion of federal funds are allocated annually based on census data; private funds are also earmarked
based on these census numbers for grants, research and other support. La Plata County has more not-for-profit
organizations than communities 20 times our size. How do you think these entities are funded?
Colorado felt that underreporting (by an estimated 1.26 percent) on the last census resulted in significant dollar loss
(particularly of minorities, children, poor, residents of rural communities and large urban areas).
In real numbers, if each individual is estimated to be worth $826 annually to funding federal programs (per state
demographer), then an undercount of La Plata County would amount to more than $5.2 million until the next census.
Eight significant federal programs account for 87 percent of federal funding to states. Many state agencies also
distribute funds based on census counts (roads, schools, housing, etc.).
Some households will be contacted next summer. This can also bring out con artists, so be familiar with a census
Census workers will have a nonphoto badge, notebook, black Census Bureau canvas bag with white lettering and a
Before you answer any questions, ask to see identification, badge and a phone number to call to verify their employment
with the Census Bureau.
There are 10 questions on the official census form. None requests financial information, social security numbers, bank
accounts or credit-card numbers.
Census workers will contact you in person only if you are in a hard-to-access area or you did not return your mail-in
form. They will not contact you by e-mail for the 2010 census.
Please respond, respond promptly and respond safely.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 247-4355. Wendy Rice is family and consumer
science agent for the La Plata County Extension Office.