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Census 2010: Participate!

April 1, 2010 is a lot closer than you realize and its significance shouldn’t be overlooked.

It’s Census Day. The census is a count of everyone residing in the United States. On the local level it means counting the men, women and children in Bertie, Gates, Hertford and Northampton counties.

By law, all residents of the U.S. must be counted. All residents mean people of all races and ethnic groups, male and female; those who are citizens and those who came here by their own means.

The U.S. Constitution requires a national census every 10 years. The census shows state population and determines, based on that data, representation in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the last census, North Carolina gained a seat in the U.S. House.

As much as that representation is important to the state, this region could benefit from a complete count.

Every year, the federal government can allocate more billions of dollars to states and communities based partially on census data. If everyone in this area participates that means that the data is more accurate. Additionally, that information helps determine locations for schools, roads, hospitals, job training, child-care and senior citizens centers.

You’ll hear a good deal about the census during the upcoming months but a questionnaire won’t be delivered to you until March 2010.

Please remember to fill yours out. Census workers will visit households that do not return questionnaires.

Already the Bertie County Board of Commissions has appointed a committee to help make sure its people are fully counted.

There’s plenty of money available to communities with an adequate count.

With so much at stake, we urge the people of the R-C region to look for their census forms in the mail and to return them promptly.