Written by: Director Robert Groves
I recently returned from inspecting our National Processing Center in Jeffersonville, Ind., filled with staff busily preparing for the coming decennial census.
I witnessed the preparation of what the Census Bureau calls “kits.” These are collections of materials that are necessary for staff to do its work during the height of the activities in the spring of 2010. There are over 5 million kits that must be assembled. For example, our staff needs kits to hand-deliver questionnaires in areas where the address list is difficult to keep accurate. Such areas include the Gulf Coast, where the housing unit population is changing as people rebuild their homes post-Katrina. Kits headed to the Gulf Coast consist of a large clear plastic bag, to be carried by the staff member, with many smaller plastic bags inside, containing a letter, a questionnaire and a return envelope. Each bag will be left at a home.
There are other kits being sent to the 494 local census offices for field enumeration. I saw aisle after aisle of printed forms, all packed and bar-coded for specific local census offices. Each local office will receive large pallets of materials. We need to have all of the items assembled in time to hit the ground running, and the warehouses are already brimming with supplies.
The morale of the staff at the facility was high; every day they’re thinking ahead for the moment when you’ll get your questionnaires and they can begin processing the 2010 Census information.