BROWARD COUNTY – Broward residents should be on the lookout in their mailbox for the 2010 Census Questionnaire.
“If you haven’t already received one, you can expect it to be delivered to your home any day now,” said Broward County Commissioner, Ilene Lieberman, chair of the Broward County Complete Count Committee. “In the next few weeks, this could be the most important piece of mail you receive.”
The questionnaire comes in an envelope with the “United States Census 2010” logo printed on it with a “Bureau of the Census” return address. It also bears this message: “U.S. Census Form Enclosed. Your Response Is Required By Law.” The questionnaire is one of the shortest forms in history, asking only 10 questions.
“The Census Bureau has designed an eye-catching package so everyone will know that it’s the official census form with a bar code for their household,” said Commissioner Lieberman. “It should stand out from the other mail you receive.”
The information obtained from the Census forms is vital because governments use the data to allocate hundreds of billions of dollars in funding.
According to a recent Brookings Institution study, an accurate Census count can increase the flow of federal money to states and localities from more than 200 government programs, including healthcare for the poor, highways, public safety and transportation and schools.
It is especially significant this year because the Obama administration’s economic stimulus program will pump even more money into states and communities based on Census results, boosting the total to be distributed from $400 billion to more than $500 billion.
The loss in funding for government services for just one uncounted person in Broward County was estimated at $1,300 by the 2000 Census Monitoring Board. Nearly 20,000 Broward County residents were uncounted in 2000, resulting in an estimated loss in funding of $26 million.
The Brookings study showed that the amount of federal money received by Broward County based on Census data ranked in the bottom half of the 200 largest counties in the United States.
“Florida is competing with other states and Broward County is competing with other counties for limited funds,” said Commissioner Lieberman. “Ensuring as full and accurate a count as possible would boost our chances of getting our fair share of aid.”
Census data are also used to determine representation in the federal and state legislatures. Under-counting leads to under-representation.
For housing units that do not use street names and house numbers for mail delivery, Census Bureau enumerators will hand-deliver forms. This operation, conducted mostly in rural areas, will begin later this month.
“By taking just a few minutes to fill out the questionnaire, you can help bring into focus the fundamental strengths and needs of our community,” said Commissioner Lieberman. “I urge you to look for your Census form, fill it out and return it on or before April 1, which is National Census Day. Remember: We can’t move forward until you mail it back.”
For more information, please visit www.broward.org/Census2010.