I heard that on May 1, census workers were going to start visiting homes that have not completed the 2010 U.S. Census form, and sure enough, when I got home from work the other day, there was a note in my door from a census taker.
Now, I’m a huge procrastinator, but I did fill out, and returned, my census forms. Did I do it by the April 16 deadline? Apparently not, or I wouldn’t be looking at this note from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The rest of Illinois did well; on Tuesday, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 75 percent of the state had returned their forms. That exceeds Illinois’ return rate in 2000 of 73 percent and the national average of 72 percent in both 2000 and 2010.
The census is taken every 10 years. Filling out the form is important, because the numbers can help your city get community services, and more importantly, it determines how much your community will receive of the more than $400 billion in federal funds over the next 10 years.
The figures also determine the number of congressional seats a state gets. In 2000 and 1990, Illinois actually lost a congressional seat because of the population the census recorded.
So, if you haven’t filled out that form, expect to see a note from a census taker when you come home. Call that person back, or answer the door, and then the questions, if you are home.
All census employees must show an identification badge with the Department of Commerce watermark. The census taker will ask you only the questions on the form and will NOT ask you to come into your home, or about citizenship, or for your bank, social security or credit card numbers. Your answers are strictly confidential.
The 2010 Census is a count of everyone living in the United States and is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. By federal law, if you live in this country, you are required to participate in the census.
“We don’t have a person to lose in Illinois. We have to know the exact count,” said Illinois Governor Quinn in Springfield this week. “This is a very important financial issue to the people of our state.”