The Rapidian

2010 Census Be Counted campaign makes its way to Boys & Girls Club

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BGC Club members learn about how to be counted in the 2010 Census.

BGC Club members learn about how to be counted in the 2010 Census. /Sara Schneider

Mayor Hartwell visits to support the 2010 Census Be Counted campaign

Mayor Hartwell visits to support the 2010 Census Be Counted campaign /Sara Schneider

Club members gather free information, tshirts, keychains, backpacks, and more in support of the Census.

Club members gather free information, tshirts, keychains, backpacks, and more in support of the Census. /Sara Schneider

Warm weather means spring is upon us, which also means April is creeping up rather quickly. Everyone knows that very special tax season deadline that falls in April, but this year another date should be marked on the calendar, the 2010 Census Day on April 1.
 
Last Friday, March 5th, the Census made a stop at Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth as part of their Be Counted campaign. Club members enjoyed free t-shirts, backpacks, and ice cream sundaes as they learned about how to make sure they are counted this year. They also got a chance to meet Mayor Hartwell.
 
The Census is a count of everyone living in the United States and helps to keep track of where we stand as a nation. The U.S. Constitution requires a national census once every ten years to count the population and determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives.
 
Although it is easy to overlook the importance of answering ten simple questions, the data collected in the Decennial Census is used to distribute over $400 billion annually in federal funds to communities. Non-profit organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs rely on the Census data to better understand the community members they serve.
 
“The Census is really helpful for me to learn about the neighborhoods we serve in terms of their demographics and socioeconomic status,” said Katie Sytsema, Boys & Girls Clubs Grants Coordinator. “It shows detailed data about things like mothers without high school diplomas, gang information, and teen pregnancies, which helps us to tailor our programming to fit the needs of the community.”
 
Census questionnaires are sent out in March by mail or hand delivery. There are ten questions to answer, and then the questionnaires should be mailed back. Households that do not return a questionnaire will be counted in person throughout May and June.
 
Community-oriented organizations are excited to see the results of the 2010 Census that will be delivered by the Census Bureau to the president on December 31 because ten years is a long time to wait for such in-depth data.
 
“While it is great to have such detailed data, ten years without up-to-date data is really difficult,” said Sytsema. “There are few sources that have such reliable and in-depth facts like the Census does. I am excited to see the demographic changes that I have witnessed with my own eyes in the past ten years finally make it down in actually numbers on the page.”
 
To learn more about the 2010 Census, go to www.2010census.gov. It is in your hands to make sure your community, state, and nation is represented accurately.
 
Article written by Sara Schneider.

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