By Charles Sercombe
Hamtramck, get ready for a starring role.
The Piast Institute is asking the U.S. Census Bureau to use Hamtramck in its advertising campaign to get the public to participate in the upcoming national population count.
Thaddeus Radzilowski, President of Piast Institute, said he proposed using Hamtramck because of its cultural diversity. Radzilowski said the city’s population would be an excellent “model” to reach people in other culturally mixed cities.
“We haven’t heard back yet,” Radzilowski said about his pitch to the Census Bureau.
The advertising campaign for the Census will kick off in January. The Census Bureau will be spending more money on this Census than in previous years and will pursue a more aggressive ad campaign thanks to stimulus money being funneled into the effort.
The Piast Institute will be working closely with the Census Bureau and is part of Hamtramck’s own Census Committee. Piast also is an official Census Information Center. Radzilowski said he will be working with the schools in the coming months to get students to encourage their parents to participate in the Census.
The national head count comes once every 10 years. In the 1990 Census, city officials worked extra hard to get the community involved in the Census and that effort paid off. The city saw an increase in its population count by about 5,000 people.
What’s at stake for all communities is that the higher the population count, the more federal money and programs each city receives.
But getting immigrant communities like Hamtramck to fill out the Census form is a challenge. Many immigrants don’t trust the government or how their information will be used. By law, the Census Bureau may not release personal information to any other government agency.
The upcoming Census form will be less intrusive than in former years. There will also only be several questions.
There have been several population estimates from various agencies during the past few years, some showing an increase and others forecasting a decrease in population in Hamtramck.
The only count, however, that, well, counts is the Census.