Census means cash for Curry County

March 06, 2010 04:00 am

2010 is a census year and and efforts are under way to get everyone to answer the nationwide count.

Why?

Participation in the every-10-year population count is key and could affect Curry County financially.

State and federal government agencies often use population and demographic estimates from the census to allocate program funding, and local governments use the information to apply for grants for programs such as fire prevention, health care and education.

In other words, what the census does is resets the baseline on which many funding decisions are based on, and we don’t want to short-change ourselves by not filling out the simple census form.

Local schools especially depend on accurate census information to qualify for certain funding. That funding is critical to Curry County, where more than half of public school students are at or below the poverty level.

Naturally, there will be some groups who will be difficult to count: homeless people, those who don’t speak English, and people who live with friends or family. To count the latter group, the census form asks for information about all the people who live at a particular location on April 1 and asks if each person sometimes lives or stays somewhere else.

Census workers in Curry County have been hired to visit soup kitchens and shelters to ensure that homeless people participate in the census.

To make it easier to participate, this year’s census questionnaire is an abbreviated 10-question form, the shortest in U.S. history, according to census officials. Those who  don’t return the questionnaire might find a census worker knocking on their door. Please open the door.

The Curry Coastal Pilot encourages everyone to take a little time to fill out and return the census.

The federal government distributes about $400 billion to states based on the census count.  Let’s make sure Curry County gets some of that cash.