Why it's important to fill out the Census

By Gary McNair - bio|email

One of our astute viewers sent me an email to draw my attention to the wasteful government spending when the U.S. Census folks sent us a letter telling us that we were going to receive another letter with our census survey in it.  While I was wondering about that waste, I thought back to my high school civics class and when I learned about the U.S. Census.  What I remember most is it only happens once every ten years, and the impact on us is huge.

Most of us know the census results help determine our representation in Washington.  But making sure we are accurately counted means much more than that, especially in a growing area like southeast North Carolina.  It determines how much federal aid we'll get for local programs and projects.  It could mean a big difference in your everyday life – things like better roads and bridges, updated hospitals and medical technology, government grants for schools or senior centers, and money for emergency services like police and firefighters.

This is one of the shortest surveys, and there's a lot at stake here.  So please, take a moment and fill it out.  Just don't expect them to waste even more money sending us a thank you note.

That's my turn.  Now it's your turn - to fill out that survey.  To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at yourturn@wect.com.

Emailed comments from viewers:

I just wanted to say that I have been contacted 3 times by US Postal Service by the census. The first time I was contacted, I got a letter saying that I was going to get the census. The second time was the actual census. The third time, the census sent me a letter reminding me to send back the census. I had already sent the census back. Who is paying for all this unnecessary mailings? We hear enough about the census through the media by way of commercials, so everyone by now knows about it. Wouldn't it be more cost effective to send one mailing and that would be my actual census. That's my turn, now your turn Gary.


You spoke too soon I think. Today I received the third letter from our great government watchers. Reminding me that I had to send in my report. Never thought to check that I had returned it the day it was received. What a waste of time and money.  This Administration is wasting more money than any I have ever seen.


How is it that in Mexico if you don't speak or read the lang,your stuck. But here we provide translation services even for the census.

Something else to ponder: as the only way to ensure that law abiding citizens have health insurance is via review of their tax returns,and seeing how non-law abiding citizens don't pay taxes, it seems clear that the only ones getting a free ride for healthcare are criminals.


I just watched your "My Turn" piece on today's 6 o'clock news (3/23/10).  I found it interesting that you said "just don't expect them to waste anymore money sending us a thank you note".  Well today I did receive said note in the mail.  Please see the attached image.  While it might seem redundant and, to some, wasteful, its potential impact far exceeds this small expense.  Thanks for explaining its importance in being a responsible citizen.


Well I was right!!  Remember I sent you a "My Turn" response last week about the Census Bureau wasting out tax dollars. Today I received a reminder notice from the Census Bureau reminding me that I had received a form last week and thanking me if I already responded.  So; I have received a letter telling me that I'm going to get a Census form, I received the form and them I received a letter thanking me for my response. How much money has this process wasted? The person approving such a waste of funds should be fired. Don't get me wrong I support the Census as it provides a snapshot of our countries which is necessary.


I'm a supporter of the 2010 census as it benefits everyone; however, I do not support the government's waste of money when they sent ever address in the country a letter stating we were going to received a census survey within the next few weeks. How much tax dollars were spent on that project? Are they going to send us a thank you letter too?

The census survey is very expensive and very necessary. Why do we need to make it even more costly with a letter telling us we are going to receive a letter?


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