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Census is part of our civic duty

By Staff | Feb 26, 2010

Stand up and be counted.

Well, in this case fill out a questionnaire and be counted.

Next month Pierce County residents will open their mail boxes to find the 2010 U.S. Census form.

Since 1790, the country has conducted a census every 10 years and that data is more than just to determine how many people are living here.

Moreover, those population figures determine the allocation of federal appropriations to states and cities, highway distribution aid, school grants and other funding programs that benefit residents. They’re also used when it comes time to redistrict state legislative districts.

Data shows that 72 percent of North Dakota citizens mailed back their census questionnaire in 2000. Census workers then had to attempt to track down the remaining 28 percent to collect data. While that figure may appear high, it’s not for census officials.

It indicates there is a segment of the population that simply does not find it important to participate in the count.

Of course there are other states with less participation and that is why there have been changes and added promotion for the 2010 census.

This year’s questionnaire is just 10 questions – much shorter than the 2000 form. And complete count committees have been formed in every county to spread the word and encourage participation.

The local committee is planning to promote the census count by putting up banners at local businesses and setting up an informational booth at the upcoming chamber Spring Expo in late March.

As citizens, it’s our duty to take part in this important event, and in terms of Rugby and Pierce County, it’s critical to have an accurate account of how many call it home.

In 2000, the last census count revealed the population in Rugby at 2,939. Since then, estimates project the population dipped to just below 2,600.

Some city leaders are challenging that number and believe the current population is higher.

Take part in next month’s census to help answer that question.

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