Melissa Rentería - Conexión
Census Day is April 1, but the official forms that aim to get a snapshot of America should arrive at households days before then.
The catchy slogans — “You can’t move forward until you send it back” and “It’s in our hands” — urging U.S. residents to fill out the forms should become more frequent as March 15, the day census forms are mailed, approaches.
Census workers say they want to make sure that residents understand why it’s important to participate in the census, including the distribution of federal funds, and dispel myths associated with it. One of the ways that the U.S. Census Bureau is trying to get the word out include celebrity-endorsed public service announcements.
Other outreach to Hispanics includes the formation of Texas Latino Complete Count Committee, which aims to mobilize Latinos to be fully counted in the 2010 census. The Latino civil rights organization Mexican American Legal Defense Fund formed the committee.
“We believe it’s in the best interest of our state in terms of representation and our tax dollars flowing back to Texas for every Texan to be counted in the census and we will look at ways to help ensure that happens,” Gov. Rick Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle said in a statement.
According to MALDEF, the 2000 Census left an estimated 373,567 people in Texas uncounted, and the state missed out on more than $1 billion in federal funds over the last decade. MALDEF officials said Latinos, particularly immigrants, students and the working poor, are among the most difficult to count.
The census is used to determine how $400 billion in federal funds are distributed to local communities. Census totals also are used to determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, and states use census totals to redraw their legislative districts.