Archive for Wednesday, January 26, 2000

Census information beneficial for area

January 26, 2000

In about two months, area residents will receive a questionnaire in the mail from the U.S. Census Bureau. Census takers will deliver questionnaires to households that don't receive the form through the mail.

For most people, this query will seek answers to questions such as their name, sex, age, relationship, race and whether they own or rent their home. Roughly, five out of six households in the United States will be asked these questions on the so-called "short form."

People living in the remaining one out of six households will be asked to fill out the longer form. Those folks will be asked about the same six subjects plus other items, including education, ancestry, employment, disability and what type of fuel they use to heat their house.

How area residents answer their census questionnaire is extremely important. As with many aspects in life, it's a matter of money.

The federal government depends on census information to allocate dollars roughly $100 billion annually for community programs and services. In addition, state and local governments use census figures to plan and allocate money to construct many things, including schools, roads, bridges and libraries. The U.S. Congress uses the census to determine how many representatives each state has. And Kansas officials will use the numbers to determine how to allocate seats in the Legislature.

Businesses, too, depend on census information. They review the numbers to determine where to locate.

But no one will have a true picture of our area, unless there is 100 percent participation in Census 2000.

The law protects your privacy, and the Census Bureau cannot share your answers with others, such as welfare agencies, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Internal Revenue Service, courts, police or the military.

Take time to fill out your census forms and mail them back. It's important for all of us.

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