Importance of '10 Census can't be overstated - The Explorer: Editorials

Importance of '10 Census can't be overstated

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Posted: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:19 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

The 2010 Census is upon us, and Oro Valley needs everyone's help to ensure we are all counted. By participating in the census, residents can help Oro Valley get what it needs for the next 10 years.

By now you should have received your form and returned it to the Census by April 20th. If you didn't, you still have an opportunity to be counted.

Census staffers will begin canvassing in our community after April 20th. Representatives are clearly identified by the Census bag they carry, and in the official forms they complete with residents. It's imperative that every person be counted, so I'm encouraging the Oro Valley community to cooperate with the Census staff and allow them to take your form. You can also complete the form by phone at 866-872-6868. The Census website, 2010census.gov, is a great resource to learn more.

The census is more than just a count of our citizens. It is an opportunity to ensure that our community is accurately represented when it comes to funding for essential programs and services, and our legislative bodies. Completing your census form means about $1,000 a year (per person) to our community for the next 10 years. Census data helps guide funding for local projects, including road construction, programs for the elderly, public transportation and emergency services. Without a complete census count, funding for vital community services — especially those that are important to many older persons and retirees — may not be adequate.

The U.S. Constitution requires a national census once every 10 years for the purposes of reapportioning the U.S. House of Representatives. Arizona received two additional seats in Congress as a result of our participation in the last census. The census also provides an accurate count on population for state re-districting and determining the state-by-state distribution of the Electoral College. It is important to keep our representation, because it will affect decisions made in Washington until the next census — in 10 years.

In 2000, Oro Valley had the highest response rate in the state, and one of the highest in the nation. We're on track to beat our own record, but only if everyone takes just a few minutes to complete their census form.

Part-time residents don't always know where to count themselves. But wherever they spend the majority of the year determines their answer. And you can do so in confidence, because by law the Census Bureau cannot share an individual's personal information with anyone, including other federal agencies and law enforcement entities.

Everyone can help to spread the word about the importance of the 2010 Census. The message is simple: The 2010 Census is easy, important and safe, and your participation is vital.

© 2014 The Explorer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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