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April 7, 2010
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Northwest students have been doing their part to promote the 2010 census and ensure that their peers are being counted.
In March 2010, more than 130 million addresses received a 2010 Census form meant to document the changes in our nation since the last census in 2000. The data help determine how more than $400 billion in federal funds are distributed to state, local and tribal areas each year. A complete count helps ensure that communities get their fair share of census-based funding for the next 10 years.
As of Wednesday, April 7, the national census participation rate was 62 percent, while the city of Maryville's participation rate was 69 percent. According to the United States Census Bureau, if 100 percent of households mailed back their forms, taxpayers would save $1.5 billion dollars.
The census is based on where an individual is living on April 1, and most Northwest students must therefore fill out their forms as individuals or with their roommates, depending on their living arrangements. Even individuals who are not United State citizens, but are living in the country need to be counted.
"It really is important for all students at Northwest to be counted here in Maryville instead of at home with their parents because we as students live here for most of a calendar year," said census volunteer Rachel McKay, a sophomore organizational communication major from Independence. "If we are counted here, then the numbers are much greater, which helps out the city of Maryville and the University.
Since September, McKay and a group of about 25 Northwest students have been partnering with the city of Maryville, the Maryville Chamber of Commerce and other campus and community organizations to build awareness about this year's census count. Students in Northwest's Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter also composed a video and have been showing it at residence hall and organizational meetings.
Throughout the spring, with the help of grant funds, Northwest census volunteers tossed out T-shirts at basketball games and handed out dozens of promotional items - all to emphasize the importance of the census.
Besides determining the United States population, the census influences the types of restaurants and retail stores that set up shop in Maryville. In the state of Missouri, the numbers will affect the number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and millions of dollars in federal funding hang in the balance. For college students, it has an impact on the financial aid that might be available to them.
"That's huge, because if our census numbers are down, we're not going to get the money appropriate to our institutions," said Amy Nally, Northwest's director of volunteer, service learning and civic engagement.
McKay noted that popular restaurants like Applebee's and Taco Bell likely reviewed census data before choosing to open in Maryville. "After this 2010 census, who knows, we could get even more business and food establishments here," she said.
If you did not receive a form or need a new one, go to one of the locations listed below and return it to the U.S. Census Bureau.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE CENSUS
It's easy: One of the shortest census forms in history, the 2010 Census form asks 10 questions and takes about 10 minutes to complete. The individual who rents or owns the home should complete the form on behalf of every person living there, both relatives and non-relatives.
If you live off campus: The Census Bureau will mail a census form to your address. You must complete the form and return it to the Census Bureau. Your parents have been instructed not to count you on their census form.
If you have roommates: Include information about everyone at your address on one census form.
If your roommate left you off the form: Call the U.S. Census Bureau. You can send an amended form.
If you live with your parents: Make sure your parents fill out and return the census form mailed to them and ensure that you have been included.
If you are an international student: You must also participate. You are a resident of the United States while you attend Northwest.
It's safe and confidential : By law, the U.S. Census Bureau cannot share respondents' answers with anyone, including other federal agencies and law enforcement entities. All Census Bureau employees take an oath of nondisclosure and are sworn for life to protect the confidentiality of the data. The penalty for unlawful disclosure is a fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment of up to five years, or both.
Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
firstname.lastname@example.org | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900
Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468