One Year Out - Potential Stories
As members of the media, you have a unique opportunity to share news and information about the 2010 Census with a broad and diverse audience. The story topics provided below will help raise awareness ahead of the questionnaire mail date in March 2010 and can be easily customized with specific community data to reflect the interests of your local market. For more information or to arrange time to speak with a Census Bureau representative, please see the Contacts section.
One Year Out: The Countdown is On
The U.S. Constitution requires the federal government to count the population every ten years and the U.S. Census Bureau is ready and prepared to meet the extraordinary challenge of ensuring everyone residing in the United States--in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands--are included in the 2010 Census. Questionnaires will mail in March 2010, but preparations are already under way to provide a new, accurate portrait of America and the one-year-out mark is a significant milestone.
- Data obtained from the 2010 Census will determine how many representatives a state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives.
- Every year, the federal government can allocate more than $300 billion to states and communities based, in part, on census data.
- With information collected during the 2010 Census as a foundation, coupled with population estimates, economic data, and results from the American Community Survey, the nation will see how significantly the U.S. has changed since 2000.
Census 101: One Year Out
While looking ahead to the 2010 Census, it is important to remember the significant place the decennial census holds in American history.
- Census History: As mandated by the Constitution (Article 1, Section 2: "The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct"), the Census is taken every ten years and is directed with counting the full population of the United States. The 2010 Census will mark the 23rd census of the United States. The first census was taken in 1790 and estimated the population of the United States at 3,929,214 <http://www.census.gov/history/>.
- 10 Questions, approximately 10 Minutes to Complete: The decennial census questionnaire has gone through significant changes over the years. With one of the shortest questionnaires in history, the 2010 Census questionnaire contains only a few simple questions - asking for such information as name, relationship to head of household, gender, age and date of birth, race, and whether respondents own or rent their home. This simple, short form takes just a few minutes to complete and return by mail.
- It's the Law: Responses to the 2010 Census questionnaire are required by law. All responses are used for statistical purposes only, and all are strictly confidential.
2010 Census: New Technology and Approach
Following a historical pattern of evolution, the 2010 Census features several significant changes from its predecessor in 2000.
- The "long-form" has been replaced by the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is mailed to three million households each year and allows the Census Bureau to collect current "long-form" data - including accurate social and economic data - while allowing the bureau to conduct a "short-form" census every 10 years.
- Accuracy of census address maps will be improved by the implementation of a digital geospatial database called the Master Address File/Topological Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing Accuracy Improvement Project (MAF/TIGER): <http://www.census.gov/geo/www/index.html>.
- The information gathered also helps to advance several other industries, including the nation's GPS technology.
- Address canvassers will be using GPS-equipped hand-held computers to update maps and ensure there is an accurate address list for the delivery of the census questionnaires.