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Mailbox march is April 10

FROM STAFF REPORTS

A census blitz is coming April 10.

That’s when partners of the complete count and committee embers will mobilze a million volunteers to staff a neighborhood action in 6,000 low responding areas across the U.S., urging local residents to “March to the Mailbox” and mail back their completed 2010 Census form.

“I cannot stress how important this is to us here in Selma, in Alabama in the whole country,” said Selma Mayor George Evans. “It is so important to us as far as money we could receive in grants and our representation in Washington.”

Every 10 years, the U.S. conducts a census of its population. Evans is correct. Census data directly affect how billions of dollars per year in federal funding are allocated to local, state and tribal governments.

Data about how communities change are crucial to many planning decisions, according to Dallas County Probate Judge Kim Ballard, including in education, transportation, public safety, emergency preparedness and disaster recovery.

People have until April 1, National Census Day before a Census taker comes to their home.

Alabama is historically a low Census response state.

In 1990, the state reported 62 percent response. In 2000 the response rate dropped to 61 percent.

That cost, according to the Census Bureau. Alabama lost an estmated $685 million in federal funding during the last decade because more than 50,000 were not reported.

This year’s Census is made up of 10 questions. The government estimates 10 minutes is all it takes to fill out the form.