Census Bureau Begins Long, Expensive Census for the Decade

The Census Bureau kicked off a $300 million campaign to get people to fill out and return census forms Wednesday.

Once each decade, the U.S. Census Bureau begins the long, slow, expensive process of collecting information about the roughly 300 million U.S. residents. They’ll ask households to fill out and return census forms in order to get the pulse of the nation’s demographics. In preparation for the census data collection, the Bureau will begin a campaign to convince people to mail those forms back.The campaign, which costs $300 million, will begin in earnest in March, when the Bureau mails out 10-question forms to roughly 120 million households. Robert Groves, the Census director, started in early yesterday, however, and showed up at an event in New York City in a 46-foot trailer called “Mail it Back.” In all, the Census Bureau will have 13 such vehicles show up at roughly 800 events around the country, including such high-profile events as the Super Bowl  and the NCAA Final Four. Said Groves, “The whole purpose is to reach out to people at local events.”

The data collected by the Census Bureau is used in a variety of Congressional studies, as well as to distribute federal and state aid. Private companies and other government agencies also use the data. Said Groves, “There’s political power involved because of the Constitution. There’s money involved as well.” This year, forms will be sent out in other languages as well, including Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Russian. Said Groves, “I don’t think you can ever do enough. What we are doing, I think, is something to be proud of.”

By Buzzle Staff and Agencies
Published: 1/5/2010

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