Census completion an easy task

Published 2:25 pm Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Doing something good for your community has never been easier than completing the 2010 Census. An easy investment of just 10 minutes of your time literally will pay dividends far and wide in our community during the next 10 years; such a return on investment is hard to imagine but true. Deadline for completing and mailing in census forms is this Thursday, April 1 so now is the time to take just a few minutes to mark this simple civic duty off your to-do list.

Unfortunately, Shelby County and Alabama residents are lagging behind the national average of 34 percent completion with Alabama’s rate of completion to date of only 27 percent. City participation in Shelby County ranges from 31 percent in Helena to just 12 percent in Hoover. That leaves many of us with a simple, yet impactful task to complete in the coming days.

No doubt readers of this newspaper are aware of the profound ways an accurate census count will positively impact our community. Federal road funding, assistance for families in need, disaster response, school and teacher funding are just a handful of the many critical elements of our community directly impacted by the census and its role in allocating federal resources. The direct funding impact the census will have on so many elements of our community cannot be overstated.

But beyond securing our community’s place in line for federal largess, there is one other often-overlooked reason for each of us to complete the census: democracy.

Population size is the one determining factor used to assign many layers of local and federal elected representation including the number of state and national members of the House of Representatives. Looking for a way to change congress or increase your community’s clout in government? The census is your ticket.

Failure to complete the census may not silence your voice, but that voice will no doubt be louder with your help to ensure an accurate census count.