Manny Gonzales is a Community Outreach Specialist for the United States Census Bureau. He is a Colorado native and a former newspaper journalist for The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News. He resides in Denver, where he builds partnerships with community organizations and civic leaders to promote Census 2010.
On March 15, hundreds of millions of Census 2010 questionnaires will be mailed to homes across the United States. This decennial Census form has been pared down to 10 questions, far shorter than previous questionnaires, and should take 10 minutes to complete. 10 questions in 10 minutes -- sounds simple enough, right? Here’s why it’s important that you respond.
Everyone in Colorado, regardless of citizenship or age, walks around with about $850 attached to them in federal funding for their community. Filling out a questionnaire is like signing a check to your community. The Census data will determine how $435 billion in federal funding is distributed annually over the next ten years to communities for our schools, public libraries, student loans, road maintenance and health care organizations, such as hospitals, safety net clinics and public health departments. The Census data also determines our representation in Congress and Colorado’s state legislature. Policymakers and community stakeholders depend on the resulting Census data to understand community needs, such as how many people don’t have health insurance, where new clinics should be built or how many new health care providers we’ll need to train to meet future demands.
The Census counts everyone of all ages, races, ethnic groups, citizens and non-citizens. Moreover, the information provided to the Census is absolutely confidential and protected by the U.S. Constitution. Not even the President of the United States can gain access to your information.
Census 2010, it’s safe, it’s easy and it’s important.