County census count leads pack

Published 11:04 am Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Once again, Shelby County leads the pack in a very important benchmark, beating not only national and state averages, but also surpassing every other county in Alabama.

What’s the benchmark, you might ask? Education spending per pupil? Lowest crime statistics? Fastest growth or greatest affluence? All are excellent guesses, but this benchmark relates to the 2010 Census.

Some 77 percent of Shelby Countians completed and mailed in their official U.S. Census forms, exceeding the state and national response rates of 70 percent and 72 percent respectively. Indian Springs Village leads all Shelby County communities with a whopping 84 percent response rate.

Now, the official census enters the final phase of securing an accurate and complete count: door-to-door interviews by census employees. Census workers in the month of May will visit all homes that have not returned a census form.

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.

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 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.

If your household happens to be among the uncounted, please make time for the official census takers as they visit your home in the coming weeks. Doing so is not only the right thing to do, it will also be a major factor in our county’s and your community’s future in the coming decade.