Census surveys to be mailed in March 2010

The 2010 U.S. Census will get under way in March 2010, when each Shelby County household will receive a survey from the U.S. Census Bureau in the mail.

Reginald Holloway, Shelby County’s Community Services manager, is the county’s liaison with its Complete Count Committee. That group, made up of a diverse group of business and community leaders, is charged with promoting awareness about the importance of an accurate count of Shelby County residents in the 2010 Census.

“We are expecting for the survey to be returned during March,” Holloway said. “However April 1 is considered the official Census Day. We are hoping, in theory, for all the surveys to be completed and turned in by April 1.”

U.S. Census officials report at Census.gov this year’s streamlined questionnaire will take less than 10 minutes to complete. Participation in the census is required by law.

Federal law protects the personal information received in the census, according to the Web site.

Census data is used to distribute congressional seats to states, to make decisions about what community services to provide and to make decisions about the distribution in more than $400 billion in federal funds to state and local governments each year.

However, residents who have not completed their census survey by April 1 will likely receive a visit from a census worker.

“The Census Bureau will determine whether census workers will go house to house in any area. If they do not have a substantial return amount, they are going to send out specially-trained census workers to ensure an accurate count,” Holloway said. He expects that phase of the census to last at least until the end of May.

Shelby County’s Complete Count Committee have a number of events planned to promote participation in the census.

“So far, it’s been lots of fun. I’m glad to be a part of it,” Holloway said. “This is an event that only comes once every 10 years and we have an opportunity to stand up and be counted.”