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Census Bureau Takes Its Show on the Road from Times Square

January 4, 2010

NEW YORK - Times Square with its hustle and bustle is one of the launching pads as New Yorkers are being asked to stand up and be counted in the 2010 census. This week, the U.S. Bureau of the Census launches regional Road Tours as part of the "2010 Census Portrait of America," to acquaint people with what will be asked on the census forms, and why. The tour is a large, interactive exhibit that explains each of the ten questions that are to be on the standard census form.

The Bureau's Mary Watts says getting an accurate count is critical to determine apportionment of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and also for federal funding of social services, schools and hospitals.

"Each year now, there are about $400 billion that will be redistributed to communities, based on the population that is tabulated by the census data, and that will be used for the next ten years."

The New York regional tour will show up at local festivals and sports events, and in areas where the census response has been low in the past.

You have just today to catch the interactive display in Times Square, because, the Census Bureau's Samantha O'Neil says, the Road Tour will be making four more stops this week.

"It travels to Harlem on Tuesday, January 5, and then from there we are going to Hartford, Connecticut; Providence, Rhode Island; and Boston, Massachusetts, in the first week."

O'Neil says at each stop there are interactive kiosks that invite citizens to learn about the census and even to advocate for their neighborhoods.

"You can share your story, talk about your community and why the census is important to you and your community; and that becomes part of the Portrait of America that lives on our Web site."

The more forms that are returned by mail, the less need for door-to-door census-takers. In 2000, about 65 percent of the forms were mailed in. O'Neil says the current goal is 70 percent.

The actual census forms are to be mailed out in mid-March.

The Census Bureau Web site where information and Road Tour itineraries are available is
2010census.gov

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY