It's nearly time for all of us to stand up and be counted

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It's nearly time to stand and be counted.


Especially in Nebraska's 3rd District, we need to make sure every last soul is entered into the Census Bureau's tally for 2010.

That's because population tallies are the basis for seats in Congress, for drawing local political boundaries and dole out federal funds.

Some McCook officials felt the accuracy of Census figures for 1990 and 2000 left something to be desired, and they probably were right. The Census is conducted using temporary workers, seeking to count noses that don't necessarily want to be counted.

Will McCook be able to stay near the 8,000 level?

It will be a struggle, with the Census Bureau estimating the community has lost 5 percent or more since the last official count in 2000, when we numbered 7,994.

Economic development has been a priority for McCook with good reason; more jobs mean more residents and more of us to pay taxes to support schools and infrastructure.

But it would be a shame to miss out on even a dollar of funding because we have been lax in letting Washington know we are here.

It should be easier this time around; we just need to fill out the Census mailing that will arrive at our home. There won't be any "long form" questionnaires, which previously went to one in six households. That type of information is now collected through the Census Bureau's ongoing American Community Survey, which is sent to smaller, representative samples of the population.

It's a tough job for those temporary workers. Some immigrants are worried about deportation, others are worried about identity theft and invasion of privacy.

Census officials assure the public that those fears are unfounded.

So let's do what we can to help get an accurate count. Perhaps you'd have time to take on a census job. At the very least, let's be diligent in filling out the census form when it arrives in the next year.

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