Do your part in the Census

Published 8:34 pm Wednesday, March 24, 2010

As you have no doubt been made aware, either through the countless television commercials, radio spots, newspaper stories and the number of mailed items received recently, the once-per-decade U.S. Census is ongoing.

The process, which is ordered every 10 years by the Constitution, aims to obtain an accurate count of those living within the United States. In doing so, the count helps properly allocate Congressional representation, distribute state, federal and nonprofit spending allotments, and aids planners better meet the demands of a particular population.

In short, the Census is a crucial exercise and should be treated as such by every resident.

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In Suffolk, the Census proves even more valuable because the city has seen tremendous residential growth since the last Census in 2000. An accurate count can better position the city to receive much-needed federal and state funds for such things as education and infrastructure development.

So far, about 35 percent of Suffolk residents have mailed their forms back — well ahead of the state (27 percent) and the nation (20 percent).

However, Suffolk needs to ensure it does not stall at 75 percent, which was its mail-back participation rate in the 2000 Census. Every resident who mails the form back, with all answers completed correctly, helps save valuable taxpayer dollars.

The information collected is key to tracking population trends, crucial in allowing our city and economic leaders to be more competitive in recruiting new industries, businesses and retail development.

As Suffolk continues to grow, the demands placed on our roads, our schools and our city services will increase dramatically. City planners are already working off population projections that call for the city’s population to nearly double by the year 2020.

If the 2010 Census count confirms what we all know to be true — that Suffolk is a city quickly on the grow — then we will be better positioned to request and receive the government support needed.

The 2010 Census is the chance we all have in playing a role in the future of Suffolk and ensuring the growth we all know is coming is properly planned.