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Census 2010 is critical to Texas

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If everyone who lives in Texas is counted in the 2010 Census, the state stands to gain possibly FOUR additional representatives to Congress.  North Texas alone could gain two additional Congressional seats!  This translates to more of the federal gas tax returning to the state to fund our highway system; more educational dollars; more Medicaid funds, etc.

There are two groups in North Texas that are especially at risk to not be counted:

First, private school and college students.  These students are to be counted at the address where they live when in school – not in their home town.  If you think about, it makes logical sense.  A student spends probably eight months from September through May in the city where his school is located, with about a month elsewhere during that period on holidays.  A full time student may even stay in a university town through most of the summer months.  In a college town, the students regularly use the roads, the utilities, the telephone systems.  And in an emergency, they use the hospitals, the law enforcement establishment, and ambulance and fire services.  The vehicles they drive put emissions into the surrounding air.  The city and county in which that school or college is located must accommodate all those students with regular and emergency services.

The second group at risk to not be counted is undocumented workers.  Contrary to what most people believe, the census is not limited to just legal residents.  In fact, no governmental entity may use census information to prosecute a worker in this country illegally. These workers use the same county and municipal roads and services as the college students do.  And it is very difficult to plan adequately for these roads and services if you do not have an accurate population number for your area.  Census takers don’t ask if the residents are documented or not, but the fear of deportation is so great that it is almost impossible to get a non-resident worker to complete a census survey.

The 2010 Census Procedure
A Census questionnaire will be mailed to every residence with a mailing address and should arrive around the third week of March.  It is to be filled out and returned in the mail as soon as possible.  No stamp is required.

In the 2000 Census, the first person at the residence had to answer 57 questions.  The second person at the residence had to answer 31 questions.  The 2010 census has about 10 brief questions that can be answered in ten minutes.  All replies are confidential and will not be shared with other government agencies.

On April 20th, the government will make a list of all residences that have not returned a completed census form.  Beginning May 1st, a Census Taker will make up to six trips to each of those residences to obtain a completed Census form.

How to Apply for a Census Taker position
Our area has only met 41% of its recruiting goal for Census Takers.  The pay is $14 to $19.25 per hour with fifty cents reimbursed for each mile driven.  The Census Taker is hired for 12 to 16 weeks with a maximum of 35 hours work per week.  (For additional information on becoming a Census Taker, call the local Census office at 469-322-3870.)

Applicants must be 18 years of age, have a vehicle and valid driver’s license, and proof that they can work legally in the United States.  Military veterans are given a preference.  Based on the zip code of your residence, an interested person fills out an application with 28 questions.  The applicant must be able to read English, use a map, be able to sort, and have basic math skills.  Some areas require bilingual language skills.  The government prefers to use Census Takers who are residents of the neighborhood they canvas.  Applicants who fill out the questionnaire successfully are then interviewed for the position.  Applicants who are recommended after the interview will have a criminal background check completed by the FBI.

Many thanks to Ramon Padilla, Partnership Specialist, U.S. Census Bureau – Dallas Regional Census Center, for providing this information.

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