We should make a point to answer the few short questions, 10, in fact, and return it without delay. The questions are easy and take less time to answer than it does to walk the form back from your mailbox.
But the answers are vitally important to us all since it provides the adequate accounting of our state and nation’s population, and that number, in turn, determines a laundry list of things, including the amount of federal funding we receive and the programs that are offered.
For some reason, filling out the census is met with as much trepidation as filing income tax or getting a root canal. People dread it; don’t want to do it, and, without provocation, seem to think it’s the government’s way of tracking you for law enforcement or creditors.
It is not. Far from it.
The U.S. Census is the yard stick by which many things are measured and can be a determining factor in the future of federal, state and local programs, how many families can be assisted during times of great need and the course of bills making their way through the halls of Congress.
The census also paints a portrait of our communities — helping us to see, for example, where we stand on unemployment, housing, education and poverty.
Consider what Gov. Bev Perdue has said about the all-important Census: “An accurate count of our population is critical for the future of North Carolina. As a fast-growing state, we must count everyone to get our fair share of the billions of federal dollars distributed each year based on the census.”
Without question it is a critical piece to the federal funding puzzle, and there’s no way any of us should ever think we don’t need the money that can and often does come by way of the numbers reported through the census.
What’s more, an undercount, which happens when people fail to fill out the forms and return them, can cause us to lose needed federal dollars, something we absolutely cannot afford to have happen. Yet it is something that certainly could happen and something that would be felt here, in Duplin County and in every other county in North Carolina.
That’s why taking the 10 minutes to fill out the census and return it is vitally important.
What’s more, it’s the law. For those who simply refuse to do their duty as an American citizen, chances are good that a census official will show up on your doorstep and help you get that form filled out.
Why chance it when it’s a simple step, and one that is so important to us all.
So fill out your census, return it and know that what you did will be good for our county, our state and our nation.