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Census 2000 went on the road today.
Twelve Road Tour Vehicles (RTVs), "wrapped" in colorful census graphics, pulled out of cities across America in simultaneous, 60-day quests to motivate people to participate in Census 2000. Along the planned itineraries, the RTVs and the exhibits they carry will make thousands of appearances -- from county fairs and ethnic festivals to St. Patrick's Day parades and Major League Baseball opening days.
"The Census 2000 Road Tour will carry the census message to big cities and small towns alike," said Census Bureau Director Kenneth Prewitt. "It is part of the most aggressive grassroots campaign ever mounted to promote census participation."
The Census 2000 Road Tour, "How America Knows What America Needs," is designed to dovetail with a step-up in the Census Bureau's paid advertising campaign leading up to Census Day, April 1. The Census Bureau will begin mailing or delivering questionnaires to about 118 million housing units in mid-March.
Each RTV, with two drivers on board, is equipped with promotional videos, five kiosk-like, portable exhibits in multiple languages and boxes of promotional materials -- balloons, lapel pins, buttons, pens, pencils and refrigerator magnets -- to remind people the census is coming and to fill out their forms.
The vehicles will travel throughout the country, stopping mostly at small community events. They also will visit hard-to-enumerate areas. Tentative stops include the Grammy Music Awards in Los Angeles on Feb. 23, the Final Four Basketball Tournament in Indianapolis on April 2-3 and a funeral procession "to bury the undercount" in Asheville, N.C., on April 1. Other events where the Census 2000 vehicles are scheduled to make appearances are the Kumba Festival in San Diego on Feb. 18 and several powwows on American Indian reservations. Map updates on the Census 2000 RTVs' progress will be posted on the Internet at the Census Bureau's Web site http://www.census.gov.
The RTVs will be met at some stops by high-ranking Census Bureau officials from the regions and headquarters, including Prewitt.
"The Road Tour underscores our belief that Census 2000 is a national civic celebration, the first of the new millennium," said Prewitt. "We want to tell people, by our presence at all of these local community activities, that the census is important, that it is how government knows where taxpayer money should be spent and what public services are needed."
The Census Bureau needs the help of local residents to conduct Census 2000. Job opportunities include census taker positions in communities and neighborhoods and office work. A large number of part-time positions are available. For more information on census jobs in your area, call toll-free 1-888-325-7733.
The Census Bureau guarantees that the answers given on census forms are kept strictly confidential. Information collected in Census 2000 will provide local area data needed for communities to receive federal program funds and for private sector and community planning.