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March 29, 2010

Be counted: Census 2010

Information gathered will help the region get its fair share of funding

US Census 2010

Fill out the 10 questions on your census questionnaire when it arrives in your mailbox and you will help the Rochester region get its fair share of funding.

Once every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau takes a snapshot of the population. Census data affect decisions on the distribution of funds for vital community services, such as education, hospitals, transportation, public safety, emergency preparedness, and disaster recovery. There are $400 billion in federal funds available annually to local and state governments. Those funds are distributed based on the demographic information collected during the census.

Census data also inform research done by university faculty, students, librarians, and community leaders.

Rochester-area households have already started receiving census questionnaires. The 10-question form takes about 10 minutes to complete.

Regardless of whether or not you are a citizen, all U.S. residents should fill out a form. People should be counted where they live or sleep most of the time, meaning that students who live in Rochester should complete a form for themselves here, even if they spend part of the year in another residence/hometown.

Once your form is completed, mail it back as soon as possible in the envelope provided. If you don’t submit your form, a census worker will visit your household between mid-April and June. Last census, 36 percent of Monroe County residents didn’t mail back their forms, requiring that the Census Bureau hire workers to go door-to-door. These extra hands cost money, ultimately eating into federal funds that could be allocated back to the region.

The census is confidential. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share anyone’s responses with anyone else, including other federal agencies and law enforcement entities. Also, be aware that the census will not ask for social security information—only the name, birth date, race and gender of each person living with you, plus a phone number (in case answers need clarification) and type of residence.

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