Census Bureau launches 2010 headcount campaign
The Census Bureau began a national media blitz Monday for the 2010 count with a network morning show appearance by its leadership. Also on the itinerary: The Super Bowl. Then March Madness. And a presence at thousands of other national, regional and local events in an effort to convince Americans to complete their census forms.
Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Census Bureau Director Robert Groves kicked off the bureau's "Portrait of America Road Tour" on NBC's "Today Show" and will hold a similar event Monday afternoon in Times Square with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
"I think the biggest misconception about the Census is that it's boring and long," Groves said on NBC. "And it turns out, this is the shortest Census in history, in our lifetimes. It takes every household just 10 minutes to fill out."
The ten-question census forms will arrive at every American residence by mid-March and residents are asked to respond by April 1. Those that fail to respond will get a postcard reminder, as well as by follow-up interviews conducted by temporary census workers, if necessary.
"This is a safe thing to do. We have very strong laws that protect the confidentiality of these things," Groves said.
The agency will dispatch 12 buses to more than 800 events nationwide in the coming weeks to promote the census, Groves said. The buses are equipped with information about the decennial census and computers stocked with demographic information.
Roughly $140 million in television, radio and print ads will air in the coming months, starting with spots during the Super Bowl. Advertising in other languages -- especially Spanish -- will total at least $80 million, part of a multi-million dollar outreach effort aimed specifically at minority communities.
The actual headcount begins Jan. 25, when Groves will lead a contingent of government officials and reporters to the remote village or Noorvik, Alaska. From there, Groves will launch the first count of a household and the entire village, since seasonal inclement weather makes mail delivery and travel to the region virtually impossible in mid-March and April.
| January 4, 2010; 1:07 PM ET
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