Census vs. American Comm. Survey 9.02.09

Written by David Green.

When the census workers come calling next year, should you hold your tongue or turn over the information requested?

Some politicians and cable news figures have advised citizens to tell nothing more than the number of people in the household and ignore any other questions.

Because answering census questions is required by law, citizens might not want to heed the advice of those saying to remain quiet.

There’s some confusion about the U.S. Census due to a change that started in 2005. The official 10-year census now uses only a short form.

However, in the last four years a longer form called the American Community Survey (ACS) has been mailed to about one in 480 addresses every month. The ACS takes the place of the long-form census that a portion of the population used to receive during the decennial census. The ACS was enacted so communities could receive data about local needs without having to wait 10 years.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, ignoring the ACS can hurt a community’s chances to receive federal and state funding. Funding is often based on population size and housing numbers. When residents fail to provide that information, up-to-date data is not available.

If residents don’t respond to the ACS within six weeks, a Census Bureau staff member attempts to contact the household by telephone. If necessary, a representative will attempt an in-person interview, driving up the cost of the census.

The U.S. Census Bureau claims the ACS is “technically, part of the decennial census...and as such, its legal authority derives from the same statutes that authorize the census.” This, says the Census Bureau, makes response mandatory.

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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
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    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
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    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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