February 16, 2010 | ABC 15 Arizona | Original Article

The 2010 Census is coming to your mailbox; why it matters

On March 15, the U.S. Census Bureau starts mailing 2010 Census forms to Phoenix residents and more than 130 million addresses across the nation.

While the form is brief and won't take much time to complete, it will be worth your time - literally. Because returning your Census form means dollars back to your community.

Each person counted means federal and state funding for important local services including job training programs, neighborhood fire stations, bus service, library hours, and senior and youth programs.

The goal of the Census is to count all people living in our country at that time - it does not ask about immigration status. But in Phoenix, each person counted means about $400 a year in funds directly for city of Phoenix programs and services.

Reverse that thought, and each person living in Phoenix who is not counted means a direct loss of $400 a year to the city budget. For our state budget, every person counted means about $1,550 in funding each year. When multiplied by your neighbors, this adds up to millions of dollars.

Not only are most of us concerned about money these days, but most people feel short on time. It's good to know the 2010 Census is the shortest form since the first Census in 1790, just 10 questions that will take just a few minutes to complete.

Another important point in this day and age is that the information you provide on the Census questionnaire is completely confidential. Personal Census information is not shared with any other government agency or organization. No exceptions. Census workers take a lifetime confidentiality oath and can go to jail for revealing Census information.

And while many of us think of Census workers going door-to-door, that's really only used as a last resort. Getting an accurate count is so important, it's only if you don't return the questionnaire that a Census representative will call or visit your home.

You will receive your 2010 Census form by the end of March. When your form arrives, you'll know that filling it out and dropping it back in the mail is easy, safe and important. For more information, visit phoenix.gov/census2010.