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The Review Blue Arrows

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Why is the census important for Michigan communities?
Every person counted—or not counted—in their community impacts ten years of funding, representation, and allocation of public services and infrastructure—both on the state and federal level.

It is a mirror that creates a new picture of a community—defining the challenges and opportunities ahead.

What are three things most affected by the census?
Funding—both federal and state: For 100 people not counted, a community loses an estimated $1.2 million in federal funds for programs such as Medicaid, social services, block grants and vocational education over the 10-year period. State constitutional revenue sharing is paid on a per capita basis.

Estimates for 2010 are that constitutional revenue sharing rates will be $62.81 per person per year. This does not take into account the formula for statutory revenue sharing.

Political Representation—both federal and state: Census numbers re-draw 435 congressional districts, 1,971 state senate districts, and 5,411 house districts nationwide. In Michigan, 110 house districts and 38 senate districts will be redrawn, as well as council districts in some cities.

Public Infrastructure: Government and businesses use census numbers to locate schools, health centers, public transportation and highways, affordable housing, and retail outlets among other things.

Who is in danger of being undercounted?
The census tracks 12 “Hard to Count” conditions—including people’s current housing situation, income, literacy, employment status, and language spoken at home. Check www.cridata.org/htc/ to see these areas in your community.

When does the population census take place?
The census starts in February 2010, counting “group quarters” such as senior homes, student dorms, prisons, etc. Census forms go in the mail to 145 million households in late March.

The Census Bureau will conduct special counts of the homeless on specific dates near April 1. Households not returning a form will receive home visits and be encouraged to go to Questionnaire Assistance Centers housed at local nonprofits.

What’s new and different this time around?
It’s easier—everyone gets the short form. It’s one page. Six questions. However, there are challenges because there are more people, more multiple-family households, more immigrants, and more languages. Trust in government has declined. It can’t be done
without local units of government and nonprofits
helping.

How easy is census engagement for local governments and nonprofits to do?
There are many easy activities to integrate into everything you already do. Visit www.nonprofitscount.org.

What’s the best thing you can do for the census right now?
Contact our local census office. Have a short conversation with a partnership specialist about simple ways you can help.

Visit www.mml.org for easy to access links to http://www.cridata.org/htc/ to determine the “Hard to Count” areas in your community. For additional, up-to-date information, visit www.mnaonline.org/census.asp and www.nonprofitscount.org.


Prepared from materials provided by the Nonprofit Voter Engagement Network (www.nonprofitvote.org) for its “Nonprofits Count!” 2010 campaign.

 

 

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