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Let your head be counted

There are numerous ways to let your voice be heard. You could attend a city council meeting and speak your mind about an issue of public concern. You could cast a vote in a local election. Or, you could be sure that you will be counted in the upcoming 2010 U.S. Census.

The census brings us new population counts for every U.S. city and town every 10 years. The last census was taken in the year 2000.

Next March, you should receive an official census form through the mail. You should promptly answer the simple questions on the form and mail it back in the postage-paid envelope that is provided.

Anyone who doesn’t submit a completed form will likely be visited by a census worker. The worker will proceed to ask the questions that appear on the form. The questions cover areas such as name, sex, age, date of birth, race, household relationship, and whether you own or rent your home.

You should be aware that the census does not ask about the legal status of respondents or their Social Security Numbers. Anyone who requests this type information is not a census worker but is out to scam someone.

Scams aside, it’s important to participate in the census. The information gathered is used to distribute more than $300 billion annually in federal funds. It is also a factor in determining loan eligibility.

An accurate population count allows for needed improvement of many programs such as education, healthcare, transportation, social services and emergency response.

It’s good for residents to be aware of the census, the questions it asks, and what it is used for. Be sure your voice is heard.