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February 10, 2010 > 2010 Census... more than just counting people

2010 Census... more than just counting people

By Meenu Gupta

The objective of the 2010 Census is to count all residents living in the United States on April 1, 2010. But it is more than just that. Census population totals determine which states gain or lose representation in Congress, as well as the allocation of billions of federal dollars. "The Census forms will be mailed in mid-March, more specifically they are scheduled to arrive in people's mailboxes from March 15 to 17," said Media Specialist, for Northern California, U.S. Census Bureau, Sandy Louey.

One of the shortest in U.S. history, the 2010 Census form consists of just 10 questions. April 1 is Census Day, the official day of the population count. Responses to the census form should include everyone who is living at a specific address that day. All responses are used for statistical purposes only. "People should return their forms as quickly as possible and should not wait until Census Day to mail them in," said Louey. Responses to the 2010 Census questionnaire are required by law

Census data is used to determine how more than $400 billion dollars of federal funding is spent each year on infrastructure and services like hospitals, job training centers, schools, senior centers, public works projects and emergency services. The US Census counts every resident in the United States and, constitutionally, must take place every 10 years; 2010 is the first census count of the 21st century.

The number of US Representatives from each state is determined by census data. This information also helps decisions of where to locate schools, day-care centers, senior centers, hospitals and other facilities. The Census informs decision-makers of where and how to grow their businesses and create jobs. Data is also used to advocate for causes, rescue disaster victims, market research and locate skilled workers. Information collected by the US Census is strictly confidential.

According to Federal Law, no public or private agency can gain access to the raw data. "All census information collected, including addresses, is confidential and protected by law (Title 13, U.S. Code, Section 9). By law, the Census Bureau can't share respondents' answers with any government agency such as the FBI, the IRS, welfare and immigration," said Louey. "No court of law or law enforcement agency can find out respondents' answers. All Census Bureau employees, including temporary employees, take an oath for life to keep census information confidential. Any violation of that oath is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and five years in prison."

The 2010 Census Form will be mailed to households in March 2010. Citizens are asked to answer 10 short questions and return the form to the Census Bureau by April 1, 2010, or Census Day. "Anything we can do to ensure everyone has that form, completes it and sends it back will make a big difference," said Elaine Bolden, from the U.S. Census Bureau addressing Newark City Council.

For more information, visit www To apply for a job as a temporary, part-time census taker for the 2010 Census, call toll-free on 1-866-861-2010 or visit

Census 2010 Community Meeting
Thursday, February 18
3.30 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Hayward City Hall, Room 2A
777 B Street, Hayward

For more information please visit www

The first census was in 1790 to determine the number of seats for each state in the House of Representatives. The census also provided a better understanding of where people lived and helped to establish settlement patterns as the nation grew.

Census Bureau
Established in 1902. Besides gathering population and housing data every 10 years, the Census Bureau administers more than 200 surveys annually such as the American Community Survey, the Current Population Survey and economic censuses every five years

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