Published July 31, 2009
Accurate census is critical for community representationTHE OLYMPIAN
It is about that time again. The 2010 census is approaching soon. The census information is collected by the United States Census Bureau every 10 years. This is mandated in the United States Constitution, and the census count is taken by everyone that resides in the United States and Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, and American Samoa. This count includes people of all ages, races and ethnic group, U.S. citizens and noncitizens. The census questionnaire is expected to be sent some time in March 2010. The questionnaire is simple to complete and would only take a few minutes of anyone’s time. There is a return envelope that is provided by the government for convenience of returning it to the Census Bureau for processing. For informational purposes, the Census Bureau holds and protects the personal information that is collected in safekeeping for 72 years. The Census Bureau employees are bound by oath for life. They are not to divulge or disclose any information they collect, keep in their possession during the course of their duties, process or have any access to. Failure to comply by current and former Census Bureau employees is subject to prosecution by the government. The census helps to ensure that all communities will receive their fair share of political representation and government funding. Census data directly affect how more than $300 billion per year in federal and state funding will be allocated to local, state and tribal governments. This means that our community will lose over $800 per person who is not counted. Data about how our community is changing, and the information is crucial to many planning decisions, such as neighborhood improvements, emergency preparedness and disaster recovery, public health, education, transportation, senior services and much more. When the questionnaire is received, please take the time to complete it. It is important that we are counted. The census is a tool that assists with benefits that would enhance our infrastructure and basic programs that we enjoy and take for granted. I have taken the census several times in the past; it is very easy to complete and is very comprehensive. Learn more about the 2010 census and how you can help to make sure that our community is counted. Contact the regional office for Information or questions. The local office is at the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, 19820 North Creek Parkway, Suite 100, Bothell, WA 98011-8227. Their phone number is (425) 908-3064. The Census Bureau Web site is www.census.gov/2010census. Bob Nakamura is president of the Olympia Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, a retired US Army Finance Corps noncommissioned officer and a member of The Olympian’s Diversity Panel. He can be reached at email@example.com.