Census numbers can help get funds

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 30, 2000

The U.

Sunday, January 30, 2000

The U.S. Census Bureau’s every-10-year campaign to count and record the data of every person in the United States begins April 1.

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"The information is extremely important to our communities," Mrs. Cox said.

"The information determines political representation among states and helps get financial assistance for roads, hospitals and schools," she said. "But, most importantly, the census information helps communities plan for the future."

County residents should expect to receive mailed questionnaires in mid-March, and Ralph Kline is looking forward to getting his.

"You as an individual or family need to be counted and the information needs to be accurate," he said.

Kline, who writes grants at the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization, frequently uses census data to secure state and federal funding.

"For example, our Community Development Block Grant projects are on that basis," he said, adding that those grants often include water, recreation and housing projects.

"Ultimately, a good chunk of the rating criteria is based upon numbers of households and income levels," Kline said.

Without proper census data, Ironton, Lawrence County, villages and townships might not receive their fair share of state and federal grant money, he said.

Mrs. Cox agreed, adding that although census data is used by federal, state and local governments, no personal information is given out.

Statistics about income levels, housing and other things are not associated with names, only locations, she said.

Last week, U.S. Department of Commerce secretary William M. Daley and census bureau director Kenneth Prewitt announced an initiative to encourage grassroots participation in Census 2000.

Called How America Knows What America Needs, the program provides elected officials with a toolkit of materials to better promote the census in their communities.

"Because the census is so important to every resident, we must do everything we can to ensure that everyone is included in the count," Daley said.

The program will challenge communities in areas where the census is conducted by mail to increase their mail response rate in Census 2000 by at least 5 percentage points over the 1990 level.

To gauge progress, Census 2000 response rates for each jurisdiction will be posted on the Internet and updated daily from March 27 to April 11.

The program also will encourage public cooperation with census workers who deliver the questionnaires to each household personally.

Officials may sign up for the program online at www.hakwan.com or call the toll-free number 1-877-6-HAKWAN.