LyndaBell's Results Now Blog

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Have you returned your 2010 Census

Posted by lyndabell on March 24, 2010

Have you returned your 2010 Census.  If you haven’t, read on for some thoughts on why you should complete and return your census by April 1, 2010.

The census is a count of everyone living in the United States.  By Federal law, answers are private.  The census bureau cannot share personal or identifying information with anyone, even other federal agencies, for 72 years.  The US Constitution requires the census be conducted every 10 years, in part, to determine state populations, to distribute tax monies and to apportion seats in the US House of Representatives.  The census also provides a wealth of information about the nation and who we are as people. 

This year’s census will cost the taxpayers approximately $14.5 B to count every resident. 

Planning for this year’s census began 13 years ago.  The 2010 Census has been mailed to 120 million households in the USA.  All census questionnaires should have arrived by Weds, March 17.  This year’s census is one of the shortest since 1790 when the census first began.  The 2010 census includes 10 questions for the head of the household and 7 questions for all other members of the household.  The Census should take about 10 minutes to complete and mail back. 

Statics indicate that about 30% of the population will ignore the census or refuse to answer the questions.  The people in this population cite fear and suspicion of the government as their primary reason for not completing the census.  Please consider the following as you are filling out your census, anybody that files a tax return provides the federal government far more information than is required by the census.  Each of us disclose far more information about ourselves on Facebook, LinkedIn, and even when applying for preferred shopping cards.

By law we are required to cooperate with the census.  You can be fined up to $5,000 for not completing the census, however the government chooses not to fine, instead they elect to send multiple mailings and if needed, dispatch a census taker to your front door to collect the information.  If you are one of the 30% of the population that does not return the first mailing of the census by April 1, you will be mailed another census.  If you still don’t respond, you can expect a visit from a census taker.  The 10 question form costs $.42 in prepaid postage (bulk rate) to mail and a census takers visit costs approx. $56 per household.  The census bureau is estimating it will cost the taxpayers $1.5 B to send approximate 650,000 census takers knocking on doors. 

The Census helps to determine how much federal money comes back to a community, so each uncounted person is costly – about $1,400 per year – to one’s hometown. 

And lastly, it’s important to answer all of the questions on the census.  While the question on race has been part of the census since the first census was mandated by the nation’s Founders.  Over time a major purpose of the Census has evolved to ensure compliance with civil rights laws designed to outlaw discrimination in everything from employment to housing to education.  An example is the Voting Rights Act.  The Voting Rights Act was enacted to prevent states from drawing voting districts to dilute minority voting.  If the federal government cannot tell where Hispanics or African-Americans live, it is a tough Act to enforce. 

As a recap, I have listed 5 compelling reasons to complete the census questionnaire:

Distribution of tax monies, apportion seats in US House of Reps, each uncounted resident costs their community approx. $1400 per year, provides data to ensure compliance with Civil rights laws, and in these economically challenging times, we can save the taxpayers, you and me, about $1.5B by completing by April 1.

If you did not receive a census or you have a question about filling it out, call the census bureau at 1-866-872-6868.  You may also find local centers through the Census 2010 website, www.2010.census.gov

Filling out your census is an exercise in good citizenship.  I hope you will return yours by April 1.

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6 Responses to “Have you returned your 2010 Census”

  1. Annie said

    Some people have said that the US immigration office is going to trace census respondents, find out if they are in this country legally, then locate and deport them if they are not. It’s part of a crackdown on undocumented workers — SO wrong!

    • lyndabell said

      Hi Annie:
      Thanks for your comment. Based on my knowledge of the Privacy Statement, the census bureau can not share personal or identifying information with anyone. That includes other government agencies. As much as some people would like us to think the census is used for other purposes, I don’t believe the US Immigration Office will have any access to the detailed information.

  2. I have filled mine out, and I’ll be returning for the simple reason that I don’t care to face legal penalty in the form of fines or jailing (the latter being a potential consequence of lying with your answers). That said, I take severe issue with your reasoning. Let us examine each claim:

    1) I am not sure there is a first real claim, unless you consider it being short an argument. If so, that is a fair point, but not really a reason to fill it out. Many other things, such as customer satisfaction surveys at your local restaurant of choice are also not especially involved, yet there is no onus to complete such a review. One can if they like, and some do because it doesn’t impose much. And so it is fair to reject time spent as an argument against filling it out. But it is unfair to claim that being brief automatically warrants completion.

    2) Not everybody files tax returns of uses social networks, so for people to whom neither comparison is relevant, this argument fails. But, realizing they are in the minority, I’ll concede that you can make a reasonable point here about most people routinely disclosing more information. Having said that, many people opt not to answer questions about race or origin as questions 7 and 8 of the Census ask. Indeed, many individuals reject the very notion of race as a defined and valid concept. So this present a substantial issue.

    3)Your point is well taken that there is a cost in not completing the form. But, if it in service of the government, it is hard to argue that this matters, for there are many greater wastes of our tax dollars. For me, the bigger concern is the threat of further fine and the prospect of having to deal with Census workers any further.

    4)This point makes sense to the extent that where you’re completing your census form is where you call home. But for millions of Americans that isn’t the case. College students, for instance, might attend school in a state other than that of their permanent residence, intending never to return to their host city after graduation. Yet they must fill out the form based on where they will be living on April 1, 2010, which is especially irrelevant for those graduating in late April or May.

    5)The VRA is a cancer upon society. It has led to the creation of majority-minority districts that have permanent partisan identification as a consequence. Helping the government comply with the terms of the VRA thus means helping to undermine true democracy in favor of racial politics and petty partisanism.

    Of course, there are several other issues pertaining to Census abuse, some of which I’ve covered in pondering the Census race question.

    • lyndabell said

      Hello Caleb:
      Always appreciate hearing another opinion. I don’t agree with your views on the race question or VRA but do appreciate that opposing views are what cause us to think and make us a great nation.
      Lynda

  3. Lynda, I filled out my census and mailed it yesterday. It was really quick and easy! thanks for the info.

  4. robes said

    awesome story.

    robes

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