Norm Crampton, partnership specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau, spoke with Putnam County Commissioners earlier this month about finding key players to serve on a sub committee geared toward getting Census 2010 information out to the public.
The census is a count of everyone living in the United States taken every 10 years, and is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Participation in the census is required by law.
Counting and reporting that count to the federal government is used to determine revenue coming back to the state and county.
"It's important we reach people with census information," said Crampton. "It is only one year away. This information is used to make decisions from congressional representation to the allocation of more than $300 billion annually in federal funds."
Canvassing of neighborhoods checking addresses is already underway in Putnam County.
"You would be amazed at how many people don't have numbers on their homes," said canvasser Steve Hendershot, who was checking home addresses on Melrose Avenue recently.
Approximately 140,000 census workers, hired from within each local community, will cover most neighborhoods to identify each residential address. This helps ensure everyone residing in the United States receives a 2010 Census questionnaire.
In early to mid March 2010, using addresses on the mail list of the United States Post Office, a census will be sent to every home.
Four basic questions are asked in the survey -- name, age, sex and race.
"It takes less than 10 minutes to complete the survey," said Crampton.
Census data is used to distribute congressional seats to states, to make decisions about what community services to provide, and how to distribute $300 billion in federal funds to local, state and tribal governments each year.
Partnerships with for-profit and non-profit organizations and government entities are vital to raising awareness of and increasing participation in this historic event.
More than 250 national partners have already signed on to spread the message that achieving a complete and accurate count is important in 2010.
"We really need schools and churches to help get out information about how important the census count is to the community," said Crampton. "We are looking to appoint key players to serve as a sub committee to get the word out to the public how important it is to complete the surveys."
Schools are also a very vital means of getting information out. During this past April every school in the country should have received a letter of interest encouraging principals and teachers to sign on and participate in the Kindergarten through grade 12 Census in Schools program.
Schools will receive their Census in Schools instructional materials in Fall 2009.
Crampton hopes to have volunteers in place in time to pass out information at the Putnam County Fair in July.
Another big push for getting information will occur after the fall holidays and after the first of the year.
"We need 5 to 7 people as well as a volunteer summer event coordinator," he told the commissioners. "We might consider a high school senior or 4-H member for this position. We just need you to help identify some of these people."
Anyone interested in volunteering for the census should contact County Planner Kim Hyten at 653-5727.