Written by: Director Robert Groves
In the next few days, over 120 million households in the country will receive an envelope from the Census Bureau. Outside there is printed in a box a note that completing the short census form is mandatory by law. Inside is a cover note describing the census, the short census form, and a post-paid return envelope to one of the three census processing centers around the country.
It’s finally here – the time for all of us to do our part for the census. Knowing my own tendency to forget things, I’m going to fill mine out immediately because I know that the occupants of my apartment will be my wife and me on April 1. By doing it immediately, I won’t run the risk of putting it out of mind and seeing it gradually descend below the stack of bills on the table.
I hope you can do the same.
Then I have one other request – after you fill yours out, ask five friends or co-workers whether they filled their form out and mailed it back. Send an email out to your mailing list asking friends and associates to complete the form. We know from past censuses that the real cause of not filling it out and mailing it back is forgetfulness and procrastination, not opposition. You can help your friends do their civic duty.
The founding fathers asked us to do this each 10 years, as a cornerstone of their aspiration of representative democracy. They levied a $20 fine for noncompliance in 1790. They knew fair representation required everyone to participate in the census.
The 1790 Census asked for name, age, sex, and race, as directed by Congress in the March 1, 1790, Census Act. The 2010 Census is very close to that. I think that Thomas Jefferson (the first director of the census) and James Madison (as a key father of the census) would be happy with what the country has done this decade.
It’s our time now, to do our part to make the 2010 Census a success.
Please submit any questions pertaining to this post to ask.census.gov