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2010 Census in ‘our hands’

‘It’s in our hands.’ That’s the motto for the 2010 Census. One might ask, though, what, exactly, is in our hands? The answer could be some extra cash.
Next month, each household in Harrison County will receive a questionnaire in the mail. The completion and return of those answers could provide extra federal funding for the county.
Harrison County Auditor Pat Wolfe, who is the county’s contact person for the census, said for each person who throws the questionnaire away, nearly $900 is lost for the county per year for 10 years.
The census is ‘very important for the county,’ Wolfe said. ‘Everything is based on the census. We’ll have to live with the results for 10 years.’
Results of the census will affect political representation and direct the allocation of billions of dollars in government funding to grants for schools, health programs, stimulus packages, sewer systems, roads and fire departments.
Each year, more than $300 billion in federal funding is awarded to states and communities based on census data, which amounts to more than $3 trillion during the 10-year period the date is used (the U.S. Constitution mandates a census be conducted every 10 years). The data is used to reveal the most need for additional social services and determines who receives community development block grants and other grant programs essential to communities.
Other than federal funding, the census provides valuable planning information for local officials to determine where to build new roads, hospitals and schools. And finally, the data collected in a census also determines how many seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Wolfe said many people are hesitant to fill out the census because they ‘don’t want people knowing their business.’
‘The census is a very common thing,’ she said. ‘It’s the only way to keep track of how many citizens are in the country.’
This year’s census will contain 10 questions. They are:
How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment or mobile home on April 1, 2010?
Were there any additional people staying here April 1, 2010, that you did not including in question 1?
Is this house, apartment or mobile home (mark one of the following) owned by you or someone in this household with a mortgage or loan? Owned by you or someone in this household free and clear (without mortgage or loan)? Rented? Occupied without payment of rent?
What is your telephone number?
Please provide information for each person living here: sex, age, date of birth. (These are three separate questions.)
Is the person of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin?
What is the person’s race?
Does the person sometimes live or stay somewhere else?
After completing the 10 questions, including Nos. 5 through 10 for each person in the household, the questionnaire is to be mailed back in the postage-paid envelope provided.
Answers are confidential and protected by law. The Census Bureau does not release or share information that identifies individual respondents or their household for 72 years.
The census is a count of everyone who resides in the 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa. It includes people of all ages, races and ethnic groups, both citizens and non-citizens.
Wolfe said a census representative will be at the commissioners’ office on the first floor of the Harrison County Court House in downtown Corydon for 15 hours a week for four to six weeks to answer any questions anyone may have.
More information about the 2010 Census can be found online at 2010census.gov.

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