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Making Sure You Count in Wisconsin

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January 7, 2010

MADISON, Wis. - Making sure you count is very important to Wisconsin in this census year. Every 10 years, the government gets an official population count via the census that impacts the allocation of government funding and political representation.

Andrea Kaminski of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin says the stakes are very high.

"About $4 trillion in federal funding gets divided up based on the census. Wisconsin certainly wants to get its fair share of that."

According to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, community planners across Wisconsin use census data to decide where to build schools, roads and hospitals, and state lawmakers use the data to redraw legislative districts.

Kaminski says Wisconsin traditionally has not done well in federal dollars returning to the state, which is another reason why everyone being counted is so important.

"Wisconsin falls around 45th or 46th among the states in the federal funding that comes back to us."

The 2010 version of the survey is much easier to deal with than some previous versions, Kaminski adds; in fact, the forms that will be mailed to homes in Wisconsin before the end of March include only 10 questions.

"This is a much simpler questionnaire. It takes just a few minutes to fill it out."

Census takers in Wisconsin will work through July to visit households that don't return a questionnaire by mail, she says. It is important that people who flee Wisconsin in the winter fill out the form sent to their Wisconsin address rather than the one sent to their vacation address, Kaminski adds.

More information is available from the League of Women Voters in Wisconsin, (608)256-0827.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - WI