Asking just 10 questions and taking about 10 minutes to complete, 2010 census forms began arriving in 120 million mailboxes across the nation today, the 23rd time the country has undertaken the constitutionally mandated population count that dates back to 1790.
Census officials are urging everyone to fill out the forms, as the data help determine how more than $400 billion in federal money is allotted to local, tribal and state governments every year, including money for roads, health care, schools and other critical programs.
The census is also used to redraw state and local legislative boundaries to fairly distribute political representation.
Even with changes designed to make the census the shortest and easiest in a lifetime, the Census Bureau projects that it will have to send census takers to an estimated 48 million households that do not respond by mail. Following up door to door to count households from May to July will require hiring about 650,000 census workers.
Participating in the census is required by law for everyone living in the United States, and the public is encouraged to promptly mail back their 2010 census forms once they are delivered this week.
The 2010 Census asks the following questions:
1. The number of people living in the residence
2. Any additional people that might be living there as of April 1
3. Whether the residence is owned or rented
4. Telephone number (in case the Census Bureau has follow-up questions)
7. Age and date of birth
8. Whether of Hispanic origin
10. Whether the individual sometimes lives somewhere else
For more information, go to http://2010census.gov or modbee.com/census.
MAP: Stanislaus County Census 2010 Assistance Centers (click on the button to find a center near you and its hours. Most centers open March 19 and remain open through mid-August).