Census 2010: Counting Costs
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- We all know the importance of April 15th, tax day, but April 1st is also important this year; it's Census day. That's when every person in the country is supposed to be counted, and it's an expensive undertaking.
A few minutes of your time could save the federal government more than $3,000 dollars. That's about how much it will cost to send someone to your house if you don't answer your census survey by April 1st.
So the P.R. push is on. "All these things we're doing is to save the taxpayer money," said Census Director Robert Groves.
The 2000 census had a 72 percent return rate. And with the Census Bureau constitutionally mandated to do an accurate count, officials are just hoping to match that this year. But if there's an initial low rate of return, it would cost around $85-million dollars in follow up efforts to raise the rate by just one percentage point.
"So if you fill out the form you save us a lot of money. Then we can return the money to the treasury -- that would be great," said Groves.
Based on census results, that's more money, in theory, that could eventually trickle back to your community.
"To get your fair share and your community's fair share, participating in the census is the way to do it."
So why is it so hard to get people to fill it out? Some people simply forget or have privacy concerns, especially when it comes to immigration status. But community advocates say there's nothing to fear.
"What we're trying to tell people is, it's simply to paint an accurate picture of America and it is confidential," said Clarissa Martinez with the Council of La Raza.
In an effort to make sure as many people as possible are counted, for the first time this year, surveys are going out in Spanish along with guides in 59 other languages.
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