The 2010 United States Census is now in progress. The federal Constitution requires that the federal government conduct a census every ten years, and the United States has done so since 1790.
Soon, census workers will be coming to Broadlands and surrounding communities. These workers will be going door-to-door, verifying addresses, and delivering the official census questionnaires. The census representative may ask questions about any living quarters present on your premises in order to ensure that questionnaires are delivered to each dwelling. Please note that any information you share with the Census is federally protected as confidential under Title 13 of the U.S. Code (even your address is considered ‘confidential information’). The Census is not allowed to share this information with anyone — not even with other federal agencies. (The Census Bureau is not a police force, is not looking for violations of any kind, and has no authority to report any apparent violations. The only thing the Census Bureau cares about is making sure all people are counted).
The Census worker, after informing you about the confidentiality of your information and verifying your address, will provide you with a census questionnaire. While I have not personally seen the forms, I imagine the information requested is rather basic. The form may (or may not) ask about certain quality of life topics, such as your access to internet or television (judging from prior decades’ census questionnaires). The envelope provided is postage pre-paid, and the form will not take long to complete. If you have questions about the form or about how to best complete it, a telephone number will be provided on the form. If nobody is home when the Census worker knocks, the employee will leave the form in a plastic bag (marked 2010 Census) at your door.
It is highly important that everyone fill out the census questionnaire and return it. First of all, population figures are often used to determine levels of state and Federal funding for public entities, such as cities and schools. (You may recall reading about the adventures of Sidney and Homer in obtaining sewer services. Homer received grant funding to cover a large portion of the cost, while Sidney was not as lucky. The Today paper reported that Sidney was ineligible for some of the grants Homer received based on the higher median income of Sidney residents). Just as important, the population numbers are used to redraw legislative districts at local, state, and federal levels. You may have read recently that Champaign County plans to redraw its district boundaries once the census results are tabulated. This redistricting is to maintain equal representation across districts, but the process is absolutely dependent on an accurate population count.
In short, please complete the confidential census form so that everyone in our village can be accurately counted.