Ever wonder how, and where, federal funds are divvied up? Or just how those House of Representatives seats are assigned or state congressional district boundaries are drawn? Or maybe you want a temporary job to help pay for those holiday bills?
An answer to all is the 2010 Census. Occurring every 10 years, this year marks the 23rd census in American history, and it is the law that everyone be counted. The Census Act of March 1790 specified that all residents be counted whether they are citizens or not.
Jack Potter, Jr., a Tribal Chairman from Redding Rancheria, performs a Native American Blessing, but without the burning sage since it was indoors and in a U.S. Government building.
More than $400 billion in federal funds are distributed every year based in part on the census population. That amounts to $1,300 per person in allocated money. State and local governments plan their growth of new roads and schools according to census data, which includes socioeconomic and demographic information. However, be assured that your identity is protected. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share an individual’s identifiable answers with anyone. All Census Bureau employees take an oath to protect the confidentiality of the data.
Nationwide, the census is the largest domestic mobilization, hiring a temporary workforce of over a million people. Redding is the Local Census Office for nine Northern California counties; Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Glenn, Butte and Sierra. This area includes many Native American tribal lands and group quarters of care facilities and prisons.
Redding Mayor Rick Jones applauds the hard work the Local Census Office in Redding will be doing.
In March, millions of forms will be delivered to every household, every address. Ten easy questions will ask for information, such as:
* Date of birth
* Hispanic origin
* Household relationship
* If you own or rent
All answers should be referenced to April 1, National Census Day. If a person doesn’t return their census form, a census enumerator will visit them.
Lloyd Stout, Local Census Office Manager of Redding.
To accomplish this, each local census office will be hiring. According to Lloyd Stout, Local Census Officer Manager in Redding, the office started staffing about two months ago with just a few employees and without telephones or computers. Now it has a staff of 55 with an additional 20 in the field recruiting new applicants. Expecting to hire 1,200-to-1,500 workers between February and September, the staff will have work to do. With more than 20 computers in the office networked across the nation on multiple servers, and close to 50 phones relying on the Internet, the office is a technical wonder. They have been conducting load-tests nationwide to try to break the system in order to find and fix application glitches. After all, the last census was in 2000, and technology has grown leaps and bounds, making all of what worked back then obsolete. Every 10 years they have to start from scratch.
Elaine Lia Bolden, a senior partnership specialist and state of California liaison with the Complete Count Committee, waves the 2010 Census questionnaire.
Redding is one of the last offices to open, and Stout is proud of how far his staff has come during the last months. To celebrate, they had an open house for community leaders on Tuesday, Jan. 12. Well attended, given the weather conditions, the speakers included Redding Mayor Patrick Jones and Ken White of the Good News Rescue Mission in Redding, Elaine Lia Bolden of the U.S. Census Bureau, and Ida Riggins of the Pit River Tribe.
For more general information, videos and blogs on the 2010 Census visit the new website at 2010.census.gov/2010census. For job information, either call 1-866-861-2010 or visit census.gov/hrd/www/index.html
Larry Watters is a stroke survivor who lives in Redding, has retired twice and is still not convinced he shouldn’t work. Visit his blog, Life Without Clots, for his perspective of living life to the fullest.