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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Census responses needed for funding

The government is counting on everyone to fill out the census, but don’t worry; they’ll find those who forgot. Today marks National Census Day, and although many students have a different permanent address than their school address, they still have to fill out a census for the area in which they currently reside.

The census is a survey distributed every 10 years by the federal government’s Census Bureau to determine population of the United States. Completing the census form is required by law under the Constitution.

“”It’s vitally important that everyone be counted because a lot of the federal dollars that are allocated to states and municipalities are based on population,”” said Marshal Vest, director of the Economic Business Research Center in the Eller College of Management.

Arizona is one of the fastest-growing states, so there is the potential to gain more representatives in Congress. The results of the 2000 census granted Arizona two more representatives, bringing the total to eight.

“”Last decade, Arizona picked up two more representatives, and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see another two seats added this time,”” Vest said.

The census provides more than $400 billion worth of federal funding to states for things such as hospitals, schools and new roads — which equate to potential improvements for the Tucson community.

“”It’s not just a said chunk of money for different things,”” said Valorie Rice, a librarian at the Economic and Business Research Center. “”If you find out a neighborhood has a large population of young kids, maybe they need to build a school.””

The information is also used for zoning and redistricting of neighborhoods where the city may adjust electoral districts based on population growth.

“”This year it’s 10 questions. In the past there’s been more than that,”” Rice said. “”You’re counting everybody, even newborns. One of the questions on there is … are you counting everybody?””

Students living away from home in the dorms and off campus will be sent their own survey to complete and will not be counted on their parents’ forms at home.

“”Everyone should fill it out … even foreign exchange students that are living here right now. It doesn’t ask for citizenship, whether you’re a U.S. citizen or not. You should fill one out,”” Rice said.

Personal census data remains confidential for 72 years, so individual information from this year’s census will not be released to the public until 2082.

“”The census information is completely confidential … it’s not going to any other federal agency … they just want the numbers and the information,”” Rice said.

According to the 2000 census data, there were 281.4 million people in the U.S., a 13.2 percent increase from 1990. It marked the largest increase in American history.

Arizona saw a 40 percent population increase in the 2000 census. The population increased by nearly 1.5 million people in just 10 years, making Arizona the second fastest-growing state, after Nevada.

“”I think for the whole decade I would expect Arizona to be in the top three probably in the top two as far as population growth,”” Vest said.

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