The first phase of the 2010 U.S. Census is now underway in the Rolla area where U.S. Census Bureau workers are verifying addresses to ensure that every housing unit receives a census questionnaire. Address verification will take approximately six to eight weeks to complete.
It is important to realize that U.S. Census Bureau workers are not in uniforms, but they will have official identification and they are using hand-held computers equipped with GPS to increase geographic accuracy. Census workers may knock on doors to verify addresses and inquire about additional living quarters on certain premises. Workers may also ask people in some neighborhoods a few simple questions about housing units. More than 140,000 U.S. Census Bureau workers are verifying addresses across the nation, as the first major field operation of the 2010 Census is underway.
The actual U.S. Census questionnaires, which will be delivered to residents in March of 2010, will consist of 10 questions asking basic information that gives the Census Bureau the best portrait of America. The form should only take about 10 minutes to fill out. The final step is to simply put the census form back in the mail. Data collected from the 2010 Census is always confidential and safeguarded. Federal law protects all personal information, and policies and safeguards are in place to help ensure the confidentiality of your information. Personal information cannot be shared with any other government agency. The Census questionnaire does not ask for Social Security Numbers.
The City’s Community Development Director, John Petersen represented the City of Rolla at the first meeting of the statewide Complete County Committee in Jefferson City on March 30; one-year before Census questionnaires are sent to homes. The 26-member committee includes community leaders from across the state that will be working together to ensure every Missourian is counted in the 2010 Census. The committee will be working with the Missouri Office of Administration and the U.S. Census Bureau to devise the best ways to reach Missouri’s hard-to-count populations and to educate all Missourians about the 2010 Decennial Census.
According to Dennis Johnson, Director of the Kansas City Regional Office, which includes Missouri and five other states, over $300 billion in federal dollars get distributed every year to state and local government based on census data. That funding includes spending for schools, hospitals, roads and disaster relief In addition, he said the data helps inform the process of reapportioning seats to the U.S. House of Representatives.
In closing I’d like to remind everyone to take advantage of the beautiful weather we are having by taking a walk or a bike ride on the City’s 9.2-mile ACORN Trail that connects to many of our City parks and scenic areas. Ber Juan Park, which includes The Centre, Rolla’s Health and Recreation Complex, the Ber Juan Tennis Complex, and SplashZone, Rolla’s outdoor Water Park, is also an excellent place to take a walk, fly a kite, throw a Frisbee, or enjoy a family gathering at one of the picnic areas.