March 27, 2010 | Milwaukee Courier | Original Article

Why the 2010 Census is important – Milwaukee’s Future is in Our Hands

By now, every household in Milwaukee should have received a 2010 census form as required by the U. S. Constitution. Our families have completed and returned our forms and we hope your family has too! For those of you who have, we thank you for fulfilling this important civic duty.

For those of you who have not, it is important that you fill it out and send it back to the Census Bureau by April 1st – Census Day!

We realize that there are some people who are reluctant to participate. If you are asking – Why should I take part? Here are some important facts about the census:

Fact 1: It is completely safe and private. Your response is confidential and is protected by law. Even if you are living here without documentation, you count. No one can check to see if you are a citizen – not the FBI, IRS, immigration, welfare, landlords, police or courts.

Fact 2: It helps fund community services. Hundreds of millions of dollars come into Milwaukee each year based on census data – money for education, housing, child care, health care, job training and more.

Fact 3: An undercount hurts everyone. For every Milwaukee resident that goes uncounted, we lose $12,000 over a decade. An undercount of even 1,000 would result in a loss of millions of dollars to our community.

Fact 4: It strengthens our voice in government. A complete count helps ensure equal political representation for Milwaukee in Madison and Washington. In Census 2000, we lost a seat in Congress due to an undercount. We can’t let that happen again.

Fact 5: It protects our civil rights. The Census Bureau collects data on race and ethnicity in order to comply with non-discrimination laws and address racial disparities. It is used for monitoring and enforcing equal employment opportunities under the Civil Rights Act.

These are compelling reasons why it is important to count everyone in the census, and “not having the time” to fill out your questionnaire is not a good excuse. The 2010 form is the shortest in history and takes only 10 minutes to complete. It asks 10 simple questions – such as the name, age, gender and race of people in your household. The individual in whose name the housing unit is rented or owned should complete the form and list every person living there – relatives and non-relatives. That’s it.

Bottom line, the stakes are high and our community has a lot to lose or gain in the 2010 census. Let’s seize this important opportunity that only comes once every 10 years to build respect, power and influence in our community by achieving a complete count!

For more information, please visit the City’s website or call the Census Bureau’s Milwaukee Offi ce at 414-203-3840.

Barrett and Hines joined forces last year to create Milwaukee’s Complete Count Committee consisting of government, business and community leaders dedicated to raising awareness about the 2010 census among all residents.