County Information Desk:
The census has been taken in the United States every ten years since 1790. Its effects can be felt as far away as Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. It comes into play when a natural disaster occurs, transportation improvement money becomes available and hospitals are built.
It’s the federal census, and it’s much more important than you might think.
That first census, which took place under the presidency of George Washington, counted a total of nearly 4 million inhabitants. Today, that number of people could easily be housed in the city of Los Angeles alone.
Since then, the nation has grown and census data has become more important than ever. The census is done primarily to determine apportionment of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, but the data trickles down to effect political districts and economic development on every level. Plus, money is involved. Every year, the federal government allocates more than $400 billion to states and communities based, in large part, upon census data.
It’s fast. It’s easy. And it’s important for the future of our country. If you have any questions about the census call the regional census center at (800) 432-1495 or call our own Pinellas County Planning Department locally at (727) 464-8200. You can also go to www.census.gov/2010census.
What is the Census?
The United States Census is an accounting of everyone who lives in the United States. It has been conducted every ten years since 1790.
Why do the Census?
First of all, conducting the decennial census is mandated by the US Constitution. Population and demographic data are collected and used to determine the number of congressional seats for each state, and for legislative and congressional redistricting.
Census data directly affect how more than $400 billion per year in federal funding are distributed to state, local, and tribal governments. Census date are also used to help guide local decision-makers on where to build new roads, hospitals, child-care and senior centers, schools and more – even where to locate supermarkets, businesses, new housing and other facilities.
What won’t happen with the census?
Your personal information won’t be shared with any other agency – just to compile census statistics. In fact, there is a federal 72-year privacy law on all personal census information. The data collected during the 1940 census won’t be available to the public until April 1, 2012 for historical and genealogy research.
Who is counted?
The Census seeks to count everyone in the community to take a “snapshot” of the current population. This includes residents, the homeless and non-citizens.
Have there been any scams associated with the Census?
Yes. The federal government and local authorities are advising residents that scammers may use the Census as a cover for their illegal activities. There is absolutely no charge to be counted in the Census, and you will never be asked to release any information such as your Social Security number, driver’s license, bank or credit card account numbers and the like. Census employees will wear proper identification and do not need to enter your home to conduct a survey.
If you receive an email or find a website that you suspect is falsely representing the Census Bureau, forward the email or web site URL to the Census Bureau at firstname.lastname@example.org
- 2010 Census Home Page
- Protecting your Census data
- How the Census works
- Latest Census News
- Census 2010 Press Kits
- Census 2010 Advertising Materials
- Census 2010 for Students and Teachers
- Census 2010 Jobs
- Information in Spanish
- en Español
- David Walker, Planning Section Manager
Pinellas County Planning Department
600 Cleveland Street, Suite 750
Clearwater, FL 33755