Census workers seek awareness
The 2010 Census is just one year away, and the Census Bureau has launched a massive outreach effort.
For the last Census in 2000, about 7 in 10 people mailed back the questionnaire.
The government says thousands, possibly millions of people, were not accounted for. So, they were not represented or assisted by federal government programs.
"Representation in Washington is based on Census information. Redistricting in your local community is based on Census information," said Census spokesman Ben Johnson.
He travels across Kentucky, reaching out to community groups and businesses. He wants them to "spread the word" to the people they help.
Ethnic minorities are the most undercounted group.
"Some of it is a lack of understanding. Some of it is a slight distrust of government," Johnson said.
Thea Prak says she did not fill out her 1990 Census form, after she came to the U.S. as a Cambodian refugee. She didn't realize how important it was.
"You don't want to be non-existent for 10 years," Prak said.
Now an Outreach Committee member at Crane House: The Asia Institute, Prak wants to make sure others like her "get counted."
$300 billion in federal funds is allocated, based in large part, in Census information, Johnson said.
The Census is used to determine everything, from how much police and fire protection your neighborhood gets... to how much money your school district gets for special programs.
Even after a weather disaster, LG&E uses Census numbers to find the most populated areas to turn power back on first.
Learn more about how the Census data is used -- and the information that's collected from you confidentially -- by going to the www.census.gov website.