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Census 2010 Work Begins

By Staff | Mar 18, 2009

While it may only happen at the beginning of each decade, the U.S. Census is an important count that is used for various purposes including redistricting and allocating government funding.

In fact, U.S Census Bureau Partnership Specialist Elizabeth Guthrie told Wetzel County Commissioners at their March 9 meeting that the annual distribution of approximately $300 billion for critical community services is based on census data.

With that in mind, she asked the commissioners and the community in general to help get the word out about the 2010 Census. Commission President Don Mason suggested maybe a booth at Town and Country Days could inform the public. “It’s real important not to under count,” he noted.

Mason also asked about when this census campaign would start. While the national campaign will kick off Jan. 10, 2010, there are some preliminary activities on the horizon.

The addressing campaign will begin, county wide, on April 6 with census employees using hand held GPS systems mapping out locations. “We don’t want people to be alarmed if someone is pointing a device at their house,” said Guthrie. The people carrying out that phase have already been hired, but in October there will be a recruitment push for the actual 2010 Census work.

General census workers in West Virginia will make $10.75 an hour. To inquire about jobs in your area call 304-348-6730 or 1-800-432-1495. The TDD number is 1-313-259-5169. Potential employees must take a 28-question test. While Guthrie did not know how many workers will be hired in Wetzel County, nationwide there will be 3.1 million census employees.

All census workers are required to take an oath of lifetime confidentiality. Census information is protected for 72 years.

Guthrie noted that not only is it important to be counted in the census for population and statistical reasons, but she said it becomes official national record and can even be used as proof of birth or existence for legal reasons.

Next year, prior to the official form being sent to identified residences in March and April, the Census Bureau will send a letter informing residents of the upcoming census and encouraging them to participate. It is estimated that the census form will only take 10 minutes to complete. It is said to be one of the shortest and easiest to fill out since the nation’s first census in 1790. For more information about the 2010 Census, visit www.census.gov/ 2010census.