The 2010 census officially launched today at an event in the remote Inupiat Eskimo village of Noorvik, Alaska, where the first person to be officially counted will be the village’s oldest resident.
Dr. Robert Groves, the director of the U.S. Census Bureau, Curtis Zunigha, the program manager for the bureau’s American Indian/Alaska Native Program, and other staffers were there to participate in the extraordinary efforts of the Census Bureau to reach out to native communities.
The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has been partnering with the Census Bureau to raise awareness and promote participation in the census, which included the launch of the Indian Country Counts Web site.
The goal of the 2010 census is to paint a “Portrait of America,” and because the American Indian population is relatively small, every person who is counted makes a difference in completing that portrait.
The Leadership Conference Education Fund has also partnered with NCAI and three other national civil rights organizations, and will be working closely with local organizations in 13 key areas around the country to encourage census participation among hard-to-count populations.
Census information is used to determine where and how more than $400 billion in government funding is spent each year. Each person who goes uncounted will cost thousands of dollars a year, depriving local communities of funding for essential resources such as schools, health clinics, senior centers, and job training sites. Census information also helps empower communities by making sure that they are included when new congressional and legislative districts are drawn.
It is required by law that everyone living in the U.S. participates in the census and all responses are confidential.