The 2010 Census is comprised of just 10 questions, and it can be completed in a mere 10 minutes, but its effects will span over a decade.
Baltimore’s local census office had its grand opening this week at its 250 President St. location. The new office will support field operations in the eastern portion of the city and will employ as many as 1,400 local residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau News.
With census day, April 1, quickly approaching, state officials met with local leaders, community activist, and Maryland residents to discuss the importance of being counted and to promote the new jobs coming to the area.
“Our diversity is our strength,” Gov. Martin O’Malley said as he tried to rev up a group of potential 2010 Census employees.
“If we are going to make our neighborhoods stronger, if we are going to make our counties, our cities, our state, and our country stronger, every person must stand up, every person must be counted, we must make the connections that make us a stronger state, a stronger city, a stronger community a stronger country,” he went on to say.
For every person counted in Baltimore, $1,000 in federal investment will go to the state. The U.S Census Bureau News claims the data obtained from the census, which began in the United States in 1790, “determines where federal funding is allocated each year to local, state, and tribal governments.”
“Everyone counts and everyone must be counted,” said U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., chairwoman of the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the census. “If you have a special needs child and you want more money coming to the state from the feds, fill out that census form. If you have a child on a school lunch program who needs bilingual education or how about higher education, fill out that census form,” she exclaimed.
State Sen. Verna Jones, D-Baltimore City, warned, "We have to really be on this, because if people aren't counted it's on our back. So, I challenge everyone in here to do everything you can to make sure we get those numbers up.”
State officials have also tried to address dispel many myths concerning where and in whose hands the information entered on the questionnaire ends up.
“There is no violation of privacy,” Sen. Mikulski told the group.
The U.S. Census Bureau News details, “By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents’ answers with anyone, including other federal agencies and law enforcement entities.”
Valerie Stewart, a 2010 census employee from Southeast Baltimore, said it is her duty to participate. “Baltimore is a city that has a great need,” she said.
Tamika White, of Reservoir Hill said educating residents about the implications of the census is important to its success. “We can get different kinds of funds for the African-American community. We could get a more positive return if more people were aware of what the census is for.”
The new Baltimore East office has begun recruiting and testing applicants for census taker positions. For more information on how to apply, applicants can call 1-866-861-2010 or visit HYPERLINK "http://www.2010census.gov"www.2010census.gov.