Census office open; help wanted
With money on the line as moving trucks roll out of the area, it may be more important than ever that Mesa County residents fill out their census documents in 2010.
Census figures help the federal government allocate more than $300 billion a year in Title I grants and funding for Head Start; the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program; road construction and maintenance; emergency food and shelter; public transportation and other programs. The more residents of an area, the more funding local programs may receive.
“Everyone benefits locally if the count is complete,” Census Bureau office manager Bill Hugenberg said Tuesday with the opening of the Grand Junction office at 573 W. Crete Circle, Building 1, Unit 105. The office is in an industrial area north of U.S. Highway 6&50 and east of 25 Road.
People looking for employment also will benefit. The Grand Junction census office plans to hire as many as 1,000 people in its coverage area of 20 Western Slope counties and two American Indian reservations. Employees can work in the office, answer calls, go door-to-door following up with people who have not filled out their forms, or help drum up response from populations that are often under-counted or afraid of responding to the census, such as immigrants and people worried their information won’t remain confidential.
Census workers will begin distributing forms March 1.
Aside from determining funding, numbers are also used to retrace legislative districts at the state and federal level.
Hugenberg said people need not worry that census employees will leak information — doing so would result in a $250,000 fine for the employee.
Employees with the local 2000 Census office counted 41,986 people in Grand Junction.
Although live births in Mesa County increased from 1,473 in 2000 to 2,008 in 2008, deaths increased from 1,134 in 2000 to 1,326 in 2008, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
The recent decrease of people and, potentially, funds are reasons the Census Bureau office in Grand Junction will try for a 90 percent or better return rate on Census forms.
which have just 10 questions per person next year. Typically, Census counts have a 70 to 74 percent return rate nationwide.