U.S. Census Awareness at Georgia Southern University

The following message is brought to you by Dr. Darin Van Tassell and Dr. Patrick Novotny:

To All Georgia Southern University Students:

What is the census?

The U.S. Census counts every resident in the United States and is required by the Constitution to take place every 10 years. In March of 2010, census forms are being delivered to every residence in the United States and Puerto Rico. If you live off campus, when you receive yours, just answer the 10 short questions and then mail the form back in the postage-paid envelope provided.  If you live on campus, you will automatically be counted by information provided from the University to the US Census.

Who should be counted?

EVERY student should count Statesboro/Bulloch County as their place of residence on the U.S. Census form (unless they commute daily from a different county).  “Where you put your head on the pillow each night is where you should count!”  That is, students count HERE and do NOT count as residing at their parents’ home.   Moreover, all off campus international students are to fill out the U.S. Census form as well.  The Census is a snapshot of who is living in the United States on April 1, 2010.  It is not a count of the number of citizens who live here.

Why it Matters:

  • · In 2000, the states with the largest number of their residents not counted were 1st, California with some 522,000 of its residents not counted, 2nd, Texas with some 373,000 of its residents not counted, and 3rd, Georgia with almost 123,000 Georgia residents not counted in the final official statewide count for 2000’s U.S. Census, according to subsequent studies and surveys.
  • · Estimates today are that each person not counted in the final official statewide count for the U.S. Census costs our state approximately $1,250 annually in lost federal funding, much of that in highway and transportation funds as well as educational funding.
  • · Estimates today are that for every person or household that does not return its 10-question U.S. Census questionnaire to the U.S. Census Bureau, the administrative, staff, and transportation costs for follow-up, door-step visits by U.S. Census staff can cost  federal taxpayers as much as $600 per non-response household.
  • · According to the 2000 Census, the population for the City of Statesboro was 22,698.  According to the 2000 Fact Book, the enrollment at Georgia Southern in Spring 2000 was 14,184.  As the campus and the bulk of the surrounding apartment complexes all reside in the city limits, it is clear that a sizeable undercount occurred.  Statesboro certainly has more than 6,000 – 8,000 residents other than the students at GSU.
  • In 2000, the response rate of completed Census forms returned by mail to the U.S. Census Bureau was 56% for Bulloch County compared to Georgia’s statewide average of 65%.  We know that a more accurate and cost-effective Census is achieved by increasing the mail-in percentage of completed U.S. Census forms by residents in the city and the county, including students on the  Georgia Southern University campus.

We hope this helps you understand the importance of our efforts to build campus-wide engagement with the 2010 U.S. Census.

Additional Information

  1. Where can I get my form?
  • Students living OFF campus must complete and return the US Census form mailed to their residence (apartment, house, etc). Submitting the form will ensure OFF campus students will Be Counted!!
  • Students living on campus in a residence hall or Greek life housing will automatically be reported by the University to the US Census through a data submission process, insuring that all campus residents will “Be Counted”! No form will be necessary to Be Counted.

What types of questions are asked?

  • The 2010 Census will actually be one of the shortest and simplest in U.S. history. It will ask just 10 basic questions including:
    • Name , Sex, Age and date of birth, Hispanic origin, Race , Household relationship, If you own or rent your home

What if my parents already counted me on their form?

  • The new 2010 census form has a section that asks if you live anywhere else during a portion of the year. This keeps students from being counted twice, so go ahead and fill out the form.

Can I fill the form out online?

  • No. However, the census is currently experimenting with online methods for the future.

What if I lie?

  • According to the census website, anyone caught providing false information on the form can be fined to up to $500 according to Title 13, Chapter 7, Subtitle 2.

What if I don’t fill the form out?

  • People who don’t fill out the form will receive a replacement form. If this is not filled out, a census taker will come to your home around March and fill the form out with you.

What if I don’t receive a form?

  • If you did not receive a form, call the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance center at 1-866-872-6868. The lines will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week from February 25, 2010 through July 30, 2010.

Who sees this information?

  • By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents’ answers with anyone, including the IRS, FBI, CIA or any other government agency. All Census Bureau employees take the oath of nondisclosure and are sworn for life to protect the confidentiality of the data.

What happens if I boycott taking the census?

  • Being a participant in the census is one of the most powerful ways of having a voice in the United States. Boycotting the census hurts you and your community. The numbers give political representation to those who are counted. Federal dollars are distributed based on the population count for services like education, transportation, health care and job training.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE REFER TO THE CENSUS INFORMATION AT THE GSU HOMEPAGE: www.georgiasouthern.edu/census/index.php?link=faq

Or on the U.S. CENSUS BUREAU HOMEPAGE:  www.census.gov

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