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30 March 2010

Carter: St. Louis Members Encouraged to Complete and Mail-Back 2010 Census Form

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau distributed the 2010 Census to more than 130 million addresses across the nation. Mandated by the U.S. Constitution and conducted every 10 years, the census counts every man, woman and child. Mailing back the census form is the easiest way to participate in the 2010 Census, and every household should complete and mail back the form upon receipt.

“The 2010 Census is important to our community’s future. The data gathered will determine funding for vital local services as well as representation at all levels of government,” said Representative Chris Carter. “To ensure an accurate count, join me in taking 10 minutes to fill out the form and mail it back.”

Households served by the United States Postal Service will receive their forms in March 2010. Census workers will hand-deliver forms through April 2010 in all other areas. One of the shortest census forms in U.S. Census history, the 2010 Census form asks 10 questions and takes about 10 minutes to complete.

Every person living in the residence, both relatives and nonrelatives, should be included on the form. People should be counted in the residence where they live and sleep most of the time.

“The 2010 Census is an historical event that will help shape the future of our country,” said Dr. Robert M. Groves, Director, U.S. Census Bureau. “It is vital that everyone is counted once and only once and in the right place.”

Census data are used to reapportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and for the subsequent redistricting of state and local governments. Census data also help to determine how more than $400 billion per year in federal funding is distributed to tribal, state and local governments for services that affect local communities. Specifically, census data are critical in determining locations for new hospitals, improving schools, building new roads, expanding public transportation options and creating new maps for emergency responders.

Census form answers are safe and confidential. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents’ answers with anyone, including other federal agencies and law enforcement entities. All Census Bureau employees take an oath of nondisclosure and are sworn for life to protect the confidentiality of the data. The penalty for unlawful disclosure is a fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment of up to five years, or both.

Mailing back a form ensures an accurate count and lowers the cost of the 2010 Census by reducing the number of census workers who must go door-to-door to collect census data. About $85 million is saved for every one percent increase in mail participation. Additionally, the Census Bureau saves $60-$70 per census form returned by mail.

Questionnaire Assistance Centers (QAC) will be available to assist those unable to read or understand the census form. For those with visual impairments, the Language Assistance Guide will be available in large print and Braille. Deaf and hard-of-hearing persons who do not have access to Video Relay Service (VRS) can call the TDD number, 1-866-783-2010. In addition to these options, Language Assistance Guides will be available in 59 languages at all QAC locations.

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