2010 Census - Why the hubbub?

JTK By JTK, 31st Mar 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/om2lsink/
Posted in Wikinut>News>Politics

The 2010 Census is already costing us a lot of money. So why do we do it?

From humble beginnings

The first Census was taken in 1790, and it estimated the population of our budding young nation to be about 3.9 million. The cost was approximately $45,000.

For all the math-whizzes out there, that's a bit more than one red cent per person.

The 2010 Census, however, is estimated by some sources to cost this nation over $15 billion. Divide that by the best estimate we have of the U.S. population: 308,972,023 (http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html) to get a final total of:

$48.5 per person

So what?

Sure, it doesn't seem like a lot of money, less that $50 per person, but when you look at what the money is being spent on, it starts to paint a new picture:

-Super Bowl ad
-"Census is coming!" warning cards
-Follow-up visits
-Reminder letters
-Oversized forms being hung in Union Square
-A NASCAR sponsorship

I understand the need to promote such an undertaking to encourage participation, but is this the best way to reach the population? Is this a wise use of government funds, or is this ad campaign another branch to the black hole that is U.S. spending?

According to a recent interview with TIME magazine, Census director Robert Groves says that this spending is indeed in our best interest. He said of the Super Bowl ad, "The Super Bowl had the biggest audience in the history of U.S. television; 113 million people saw that ad. Our purpose was to make people aware that the Census was coming." He goes on to say that the other expenditures, like reminder cards and advance letters serve a purpose as well, "reducing our follow-up costs by about $500 million."

So while the spending for this years Census seems a bit extreme, it is required by the Constitution (Article I, Section II to be specific) that our population be counted. Whatever the cost, all I can say is that I'm not envious of the man who has to organize such an enormous task.


2010, Barack, Census, Government Spending, Obama

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author avatar JTK
Sarcastic, passionate, and constantly learning. I like to read and write about TV, Movies, Politics, History, and Current Events.

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author avatar Sherry
22nd Jun 2010 (#)

This year's census is probably the most useless in the history of census taking. Some of us got doubled up on census forms and I know know others who haven't received any. But when it comes down to it, what good will it do? We've been told filling out the census will help garner funds for our communities. There are those who are in this country illegally and I'm sure won't be filling out a census form. What happens to the communities with large populations of illegal immigrants? In these times of cutbacks for the legal populace, how will these communities fare with funding?

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