Wednesday, April 24, 2024

GUEST BLOGGER SERIES: Eli Samuel Serrano "The 2010 Census"


Latinovations would like to thank Eli Samuel Serrano for his contribution to La Plaza.

At its most basic level, the purpose of the Census is very simple. To count every single person living in the United States. But the Census is about a lot more than arithmetic. It’s about empowerment. The Census allows every community in America to get the representation, the federal funding and the recognition they deserve. Census data directly affect how more than $400 billion per year in federal and state funding is allocated to local, state and tribal governments – that’s $4 trillion over a 10-year period.

Census data also play a vital role in supporting our democracy by ensuring that each state and community receives its fair share of political representation through congressional apportionment and redistricting. Apportionment data determine the number of seats in the House of Representatives assigned to each state while redistricting data are used to revise the geographical boundaries within a state from which people elect their representatives, both nationally and locally.

The Census is the largest peacetime activity undertaken by the Federal government. Next March we will mail questionnaires to more than 130 million housing units and 270,000 group quarters. In total, we expect to count about 310 million individuals making the 2010 Census the largest peacetime government mobilization in our Nation’s history.

Over the next year, the Census Bureau will also be one of the largest employers in the United States. We plan to hire almost 1.4 million people through the end of next year at a competitive hourly wage. In an economy as difficult as this one, these jobs can serve as a vital bridge for workers until they can find something more permanent.

You might think, why do we do a census? The answer is that the U.S Constitution requires that a Census be conducted every 10 years. The first census was done in 1790 and George Washington thought the count of a little less than 4 million residents certainly must have missed some residents because of religious scruples, fear and suspicion about how the information would be used, or indolence of the populace. Themes that we still face today. The Census will cover all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. A complete count helps ensure communities across the country receive their share of political representation and government funding.

For the first time in history, we will have a short-form only census. Only 10 questions are on the form and it should take respondents about 10 minutes to complete. Also, we are introducing the first-ever English/Spanish bilingual questionnaire which will be delivered to about 13 million households living in areas that have a high concentration of Spanish speakers. Census also has guides available in 59 languages and nearly 3,000 local partnership staffers who speak 101 different languages to help those who may have limited English proficiency. Our goal is to get as many residents as we can to return their completed census forms when they’re mailed or delivered next March.

For Eli Samuel Serrano, this will be his 4th census in which he will participate. He was the former Census Bureau Small Business Ombudsman but has moved to the National Nerve Center in the 2010 Partnership area.