By Ian Perrotta
Though the official count isn’t until 2010, it’s not too early to prepare for the U.S Census.
The census is a tradition that dates back to 1790. Since then, every 10 years the country has undergone a headcount to apportion Congressional seats, determine electoral votes, and, most importantly, allocate federal funding. For those reasons it is imperative that everyone in Hamtramck is accurately counted.
“For every person missed by the Census an estimated $1,204 per year in funding is lost,” said Dr. Thaddeus Radzilowski, President of the Piast Institute, which is one of only 56 Census Information Centers in the country. “If we miss just 10 people, that’s more than a $120,000 loss over the next 10 years.”
With over $400 billion per year in available government funding at stake, Radzilowski said it’s vital to respond to the survey. The money goes toward hospitals, job training centers, schools, senior centers, emergency services, bridges, tunnels and other public works project. Census officials have also been stressing that the information residents provide on the Census forms remain completely confidential. In fact, unlawful disclosure of Census data could result in a five-year prison sentence, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.
“No one can get access to Census data,” says James T. Christy of the U.S. Census Bureau on the Census’ website. “It is rock solid secure.”
So, Hamtramckans, do your city a service on Census Day (April 1, 2010) and fill out the Census as accurately as possible. Even if you owe back taxes, even if you have 15 relatives living in a tiny apartment, and even if you’re here illegally, remember one thing: everybody counts.