Coweta Commission urges residents to complete census form

Coweta County commissioners at recent meetings have made a point to request that citizens make sure they are counted in the 2010 Census. The census questionaire will be mailed in the coming days.

Commissioners said accurately completing the census form will provide a correct count and benefit Coweta in terms of federal dollars that help fund a variety of projects such as road and bridge improvements, local emergency management plans, school system Title 1 programs, senior center services and meals-on-wheels programs.

Census data is used by government, businesses, religious and community organizations to determine the level of need for services and the types of services required, commissioners said.

As for the 2010 Census questionnaire, commission Chairman Paul Poole said it is composed of 10 questions and takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. The questionnaire can be viewed on-line at www.census.gov but cannot be completed on the website. The questionnaire will arrived at residences in coming days and should be returned by mail promptly. The questionnaire includes a stamped, addressed return envelope.

The questionnaire will include questions on the number of people living in the house on April 1, the ownership of the house, the responsible adult’s phone number, the name, sex, age, Hispanic origin and race of each person in the house, if the responsible adult sometimes stays or lives in another location and the relationship of the occupants to the responsible adult.

The questionnaire will contain no questions on health, family income or the structure of the house.

Commissioners also advised residents be aware of anyone visiting the house asking for census information under the guise of being a census worker.

Commissioners said Coweta County was under-counted by 30 percent in the 2000 census, resulting in a situation that prevents service providers from extending services that a complete count would have funded.

In 2007 and 2008 the Census Bureau asked local governments to update their address databases. The bureau last year sent canvassers to verify the accuracy of the lists. For 2010, the bureau will call houses that do not return the questionnaire.

And as a last case measure, the bureau later this year will send a representative to the homes that have not answered the questionnaire.