Mar 092010
 
Authors: Courtney Sullivan

Stand up and be counted. The U.S. Census is coming to your door this month, and you need to fill it out.

We all enjoy the infrastructure and services that this beautiful city has to offer, in some capacity, whether it is in the form of schools, hospitals, public transportation, streets, sidewalks or emergency services. Money that is distributed by the federal government helps to fund these necessary functions.

The Census, a count administered by the U.S. Census Bureau every 10 years, will help the federal government distribute more than $400 billion to communities.

I don’t know about you, but I think Fort Collins deserves a chunk of that money. That $400 billion averages out to about $8,750 per person over the next 10 years. If one, two or 20 different people are not counted, it adds up. Don’t be the reason that our community loses money.

Not only do the findings of the Census determine how much money we receive, but it also determines the amount of representation that our community, region and state is entitled.

Once the results are reported, the government goes through the process of redistricting the country based on population density. This will ensure that your vote is represented correctly in elections.

The Census is confidential, according to Title 13 of the U.S. Code. For those of you who were wondering, the Occupancy Ordinance, also known as 3-Unrelated or U 2, limiting the number of unrelated people who reside in a dwelling to three, cannot be enforced using Census data.

The employees of the U.S. Census Bureau take an oath of nondisclosure, saying that they will keep Census data confidential, with the understanding that they will face serious consequences for sharing this information. This includes federal, state and local governments. The president himself cannot look up information on individuals or dwellings.

“No one can get access to Census data. It is rock solid secure,” said James T. Christy, Los Angeles Regional Office director of the U.S. Census Bureau. After 72 years, however, this information is made public, primarily for genealogical research.

If your household does not fill out the Census, for whatever reason, employees of the U.S. Census Bureau will knock on your door up to 10 times after April 15 until you answer. This costs the federal government a great deal of money; however, it is very important that this information is collected.

The forms will be sent out to each individual residence in mid-March and must be returned to the U.S. Census Bureau by April 1.

Residence hall residents will receive a more concise Census form from their resident assistant, RA, in person. The form is 10 questions long for each person in each dwelling.

Students must be counted where they reside on April 1 and not at their home residences. If you have parents that reside separately from you, they must not count you on their forms.

The 39th Senate of the Associated Students of Colorado State University and the ASCSU Department of Community Affairs endorsed the efforts of the Census 2010 campaign and encourages all students to participate by filling out the Census.

As if it has not been said already, it is important to fill out the Census. Not only does the U.S. Constitution require its administration, the findings will hold together the very fabric of our community through federal funding of infrastructure and services and districting for proper representation.

Stand up and be counted. Complete Census 2010 on time and you, most likely, will not have to hear from the Census Bureau for another 10 years.

Courtney Sullivan is the Director of Community Affairs for the ASCSU. She is a double major in political science and technical journalism. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:31 pm

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