2010 Census: A new recording of the population is about to begin
A once in a decade event is about to happen in a couple of months.
The U.S. census will start its mission to count everybody in the country on April 1 and the process has been simplified.
"The procedure has changes so now everybody will be mailed the short form that asks a lot less detailed information," said Ellen Denzer, senior planner in the St. Croix County Planning and Zoning Dept.
The short form includes 10 simple questions.
The government Web site at 2010.census.gov, said the questions include such things as: name, sex, age, date of birth, race, household relationship and if you own or rent a dwelling.
The census does not ask legal status or social security numbers. The initial mailing for questionnaire is scheduled between March 1 and April 30.
The effort to count every resident in the U.S. every 10 years dates back to 1790 and the information is important today for a lot of reasons.
"People should fill out the census form," said Denzer. "Last time (2000) we lost a representative in Wisconsin and we may lose one this time."
Not only does the population count determine a state's representation in Congress, but also helps communities receive more that $400 billion in federal funds each year for hospitals, schools, job training center, senior centers, public works and emergency services.
The census count was established in Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States to take place every 10 years.
The initial count was in 1790 among 13 states and recorded a population of 3,929,214. In 2000, the official number of residents was 281,421,906. The population per square mile in the U.S. went from 4.5 to 79.6 during that time, according to the bureau.
Denzer said there is a process by which local governments can double check to make sure the official count records everybody.
"Municipalities cross check the results with property tax records, utility bills, etc., and if the census missed a bunch of people, an objection can be made and local data submitted to correct the error," she said.
Denzer said the shorter form is possible this year because the census bureau will rely on smaller ongoing surveys to get more detailed information.
"The advancement in technology makes short sample surveys accurate," she said. "But the in-between surveys are just estimates. The real count is the census every 10 years."
She said the census bureau started getting data from St. Croix County two years ago in preparation for the official count.
The Better Business Bureau suggests people be cooperative but cautious when a census taker comes to the door, so as not to become a victim of fraud or identity theft.
"A U.S. Census worker will have a badge, a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag and a confidentially notice," the BBB said in a recent announcement.
Census takers will not ask for social security, bank or credit card numbers or solicit donations. The BBB cautions to be wary of anyone who asks for this information even if they claim to be census workers.
Census workers may contact individuals by telephone, mail or in person at home; they will not make contact by e-mail, so be on the lookout for e-mail scams impersonating the census.
Federal law protects the identity and information an individual gives to the Census Bureau. "All Census Bureau employees take the oath of nondisclosure and are sworn for life to protect the confidentiality of the data," according to a statement on the bureau's Web site.
For more information on the Census contact 2010.census.gov for information on a job with the census, contact www.2010censusjobs.gov or call 1-866-861-2010. For more information on identity theft and fraud from the Better Business Bureau, contact www.bbb.org