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Census Bureau launches 2010 headcount campaign

By Ed O'Keefe

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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.

By Ed O'Keefe  | January 4, 2010; 1:07 PM ET
Categories:  Census  
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Children are reaching the age of 3 without being able to say a word, according to a survey that also found boys are almost twice as likely to struggle to learn to speak as girls.
The good news is that over 95% of the little ones are Democrats.

Posted by: jahoby | January 4, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

It is absolutely ridiculous that the population of non-citizens is used for congressional apportionment. Of course, everyone should be counted who is living in the United States, but as they may not stay and may never become voting citizens, it is not fair to use their numbers for apportionment.

Also, it is absolutely unfair that U.S. citizens who live outside of the United States are NOT counted. U.S. citizens abroad still have to file with the IRS and can vote. Why are they considered less important to count than illegal immigrants in the United States?

Posted by: AnonymousBE1 | January 4, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Only one question on the census should be answered: How many people live in the house.

Posted by: brunnegd | January 4, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

@brunnegd Then you can be fined $100-$500. See 7 USC 221.

Posted by: mbm0 | January 4, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

@Anon Refer to link to understand why Oversea civilians are not counted. Cost-prohibited.

Posted by: wayne927 | January 5, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

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