January 5, 2010 | NBC | Original Article

Are you ready for the 2010 Census?


Published: January 4, 2010
Updated: January 4, 2010

The US Census is getting ready for a count that takes place only once every ten years. But before trying to count everyone living in this country, the Government is going to try to convince everyone why this count is so important.

They're spending about $300 million on an advertising campaign to raise awareness and response levels. 2010, a new year, a new decade, and the starting gun for counting.

It's time for the once-in-a-decade count of every person living in the United States.

Robert Groves, Census Director - "I think the biggest misconception about the census is that it's boring and long, and it turns out this is the shortest census in history."

Ten questions. Ten minutes. If you don't, they have to go looking for you. The Census is launching a national road trip to convince people why it's so important.

The constitutionally required count decides representation in the US House, and more.

Gary Locke, Commerce Secretary - "Almost four hundred billion dollars of federal funds every year that go out to cities, counties and state based on the population."

But this decennial head count poses challenges like few before, how to find those who lost homes to foreclosure, or people still displaced after hurricane katrina.

Illegal immigrants have to be counted, and even strong privacy laws won't make that easy.

Gloria Montaño Greene, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials *or* NALEO - "I think that there's just a lack of understanding of-the government has sent me this form.  Why do I need to fill it out? And who reads this information?"

The forms go out in March, and the Government is asking you to return them by April 1st.

This Census is even going high tech, reaching out on social media sites like twitter.

You can learn more about the census by going to the official website.