The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Census gives needed data, speaker says

By montreal spencer/south news editor

Representatives from the Census Bureau stressed the importance of taking the census next year in an Oct. 19 seminar.

The Constitution mandates everyone residing in the United States must be counted every 10 years. The census serves as the procedure for acquiring and recording information about the number of citizens in the country.

Census representative Cleveland Starr said it provides America with the information it needs to get better.

“It’s very important everyone fills out the census form and turns it in,” he said.

The South Campus presentation started with a 10-minute PowerPoint telling the history of census taking.

Everything was done on horseback when census taking first started in the 18th century.

These days, people go from city to city recording every address and every citizen and non-citizen in America. About 116,000 people are employed to count the census in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

The United States conducts three different censuses. The Economic Census and Census of Government are done every five years on years ending with two and seven. The Census of Population and Housing is done every 10 years. The next is scheduled for 2010.

Everyone, including homeless people, has to be counted, but some people don’t want to participate or be counted at all.

The representatives said it is against the law for any government agency or law entity to use census information against a person. 

The census information is also used for more than just counting people.

Businesses use census information to see if an area can be a profitable place. If everyone isn’t counted, it’s possible fewer jobs will be available for prospective employees in a community.

If a county or state is undercounted, the area can also be under-funded. The U.S. distributes $400 billion nationwide based on census count.

Starr also said that roads, sewage and schools are all affected by the census. He used an example if an epidemic broke out, hospitals might not be ready because officials did not know how many people were in that area.

This census is not like previous forms that were time-consuming. Starr said the new version has 10 questions, takes 10 minutes and lasts 10 years.

If people do not want representatives knocking at their doors, they should send the census form back filled out. If not, census takers will come up to a person’s door up to six times.

People can also get 20- to 40-hour temporary jobs collecting census information. For details, call 1-866-861-8339.

For more information on the census, visit www.factfinder.census.gov or www.census.gov. 

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