By Jane Howe
Every ten years, by law of the U.S. Constitution, the National Census counts every person in every state. Governor Martin O’Malley says, “The 2010 Census is coming and we must ensure that every Marylander in every neighborhood, community, village, town, city and county in our State is counted on Census Day: April 1, 2010.” And why is this so important? Because more than $400 billion in federal funding is distributed annually to states by population. An undercount of as little as 1.7% or 100,000 of Maryland’s 5.8 million residents translates into the loss of $1 billion over the ten years until the next Census. The census count also impacts representation in Congress and local government.
Based on the last Census in 2000, Harford County currently receives $698 per person. Do the math. That’s almost $7,000 per capita over a ten year period. Multiply $698 by the total population of Harford County and the most recent statistics show that Harford County received $167,485,476 for FY 2007 alone. About half of that money is being used for medical assistance. The rest is used to provide infrastructure and services like bridges, tunnels and other public works projects, hospitals, job training centers, schools, senior centers, emergency services, just to name a few. They are our federal tax dollars coming back to us where we live.
By filling out the Census form, YOU get counted. YOU bring in the money for the resources your community needs. YOU make a difference when electoral district lines are redrawn due to population shift. The Census is the key to your community’s voice in government. According to 2000 Census data, YOU may live in an undercounted area of Harford County. YOU might not be getting all the money your community could use because of this.
Harford County has formed a Complete Count Committee (CCC). It is the job of this committee to make sure that 100% of Harford Countians get counted. The 2010 Census questionnaire will be mailed to every household in March. It is only 10 questions long. It is due back by Census Day, April 1, 2010. It is the shortest Census survey ever! YOU can help right now.
BEFORE CENSUS DAY, April 1, 2010, become a “partner”. Partners are groups and organizations that sign on to help promote awareness in the following ways:
Provide space for a U.S. Census Bureau Questionnaire Assistance Center.
Provide space for a “Be Counted” Information Center.
Adopt a neighborhood – Partner with the Harford County CCC and community organizations to sponsor local events to promote the Census in a hard to reach area, those areas where residents may be unlikely to answer the Census.
Adopt a school – Print Census in Schools materials for schools in hard to reach areas. Ask your local PTAs to encourage Census in School messages during late January to March.
Use 2010 Census articles and messages in your newsletters, on your website, lunchroom bulletin boards, and any other way you can help spread awareness.
Hold a 2010 Census awareness event to promote the importance of being counted.
Encourage your community and religious leaders to talk about the importance of the Census to their members, particularly in March and April.
The Harford County CCC needs your help right now. Please consider volunteering for this enormous undertaking.
Harford County 2010 Census CCC Liaison – Dan Rooney, 410-638-3103 X 1374, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Undercount Subcommittee Team Leader – Jane Howe, 410-457-4849, email@example.com
www.census.state.md.us – State of Maryland web site
www.2010.census.gov – Federal web site
One final piece of information, the 2010 Census is hiring for full time and part time temporary positions. Call 1-866-861-2010 or go to www.2010censusjobs.gov.