Millions in funding rests on accurate census count | NevadaAppeal.com

Millions in funding rests on accurate census count

by F.T. Norton
ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com

Census forms will be hitting area mailboxes in March and if they aren’t filled out, people can expect a visit from a census worker, according to Douglas Wayland, media specialist for Census 2010.

“In the metro areas the 2010 Census will arrive in mid-March. If the respondent does not fill out the census form, we will follow up, where a census taker will come to their home starting in mid-April,” he said.

While Sheriff Ken Furlong urged residents last week to be cautious in giving out information, he was wrong about what type of identification census workers will be carrying, said Mike Geissinger, census office manager for the Reno office.

“I need to point out to the public that the census field employees do have an official badge, but it does not have their picture on it,” said Geissinger in an e-mail. “They also will have an official census bag which is black and has the census logo on it.”

Geissinger also noted that the census workers will be Nevadans.

“So these faces, while perhaps unfamiliar, are not government in ‘black suits,’ but merely your fellow Nevadans who are working to acquire more federal funding for our state,” he said.

Furlong said people should check the identification of anyone who claims to be a census worker.

“Please request information,” Furlong said. “Our most vulnerable people are scammed all the time.”

“The census is a completely beneficial task of this community, as it is all across the country, but if you have questions, if you have suspicions, please call the sheriff’s office so we can get a unit out to clarify.”

The census information affects the numbers of seats Nevada has in the U.S. House of Representatives. It also helps to determine how more than $400 billion of federal funding each year is spent on infrastructure and services.

In addition to the 10-question form which will ask things such as the names and dates of birth of the people in your home, a separate packet could also arrive called the American Community Survey, which is an ongoing census survey. The ACS is sent to a sample of the population and tells us what the population looks like and how it lives and helps communities determine where to locate services and allocate resources.

The questions on that survey are more personal, such as asking the time you leave for work. You are not required to respond to that survey.