April 1 will be National Census Day

Published 4:24 pm Thursday, April 8, 2010

U.S. Census Bureau representative William Scott spoke at the Demopolis Civitan Club on Thursday about the approaching census.

“We want to get an exact count of who is here so that leaders can make good decisions at the local and state level,” Scott said.

Thursday, April 1, will be National Census Day, where people will be encouraged to fill out this year’s census.

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“Around the country, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., people will be motivated through community leadership, public service announcements and working with local ‘Complete the Count’ committees,” Scott said.

“April 10 will be ‘March to the Mailbox,’ which we hope will drive home the point even more in the communities with banners, signs and other things. There will be local volunteers working with the youth to help get the message out.”

Scott said the census forms are very easy to fill out and have been sent to several locations already, saying census workers have placed information on the front doors of several residences.

“Once you receive your census form, if it is not filled out within an amount of time, you will receive a reminder postcard, reminding you to fill out your form,” he said. “After that, they will send out another census form. After that, you will have someone coming to your door to remind you to fill them out.

“This year’s census is only 10 questions, and it only takes 10 minutes. It’s short and sweet, simple and safe.”

An accurate census will help communities and state gain more federal funding.

“The census helps with planning and economic decisions — i.e., what’s going to happen with $400 billion in federal formula grants,” said Demopolis mayor Mike Grayson at the Demopolis City Council meeting on Thursday. “In the 2000 Census, the U.S. response rate was 67 percent. Alabama’s response rate was 61 percent. Marengo County’s response rate was 55 percent, but in the city of Demopolis, it was 64 percent.

“For every person that responded or didn’t respond, that represents $800 to $1,200. Our goal should be to do at least as well — if not better than — the U.S., and this is why: In the 2000 Census, it turned up that we had a population of 7,540 people. If you figure in the number of people who did not respond, you get 10,254 people. When you take an average of that $800 to $1,200, the middle ground of $1,000, it cost us approximately $2,714,000. It is very important that we encourage everybody to take part in this census.”

Scott said that another survey called an American Community Survey will track other information usually associated with a census, like income and marital status.