Census: It’s that time

Written by Diana Keith, Government Documents Librarian

Starting March 15, households in the U. S. will begin receiving their 2010 census forms. Ninety percent of households will receive the forms via the mail. Nine percent of households, primarily in rural areas, will have their forms personally delivered by a census taker.

How important is it to answer the census? In addition to determining apportionment for the U. S. House of Representatives, over $400 billion in federal funds are distributed each year to states and communities based in part on census data.

It takes only about ten minutes to complete the form.

The Census Bureau reports that it costs $0.42 for mailed in forms versus $52.00 if a census taker has to visit a household in person to obtain responses if the form isn’t mailed in.

For an idea of the scope of the effort:  it took 11.6 million pounds of paper to print the forms which fill nearly 425 tractor-trailers. The printed questionnaires would circle the globe three times if placed end-to-end.

For further information and figures see:  http://www.unk.edu/academics/library.aspx?id=50736.