UNC students are partnering with the U.S. Census Bureau to encourage their peers to participate in the 2010 U.S. Census.
Populations that move frequently tend to have low response rates on census forms. College students, who often change residences every year, fall into this category.
Low response rates make it difficult for the federal government to distribute more than $400 billion set aside for community support and draw proper congressional district boundaries.
Time: 9 p.m. today
Location: Linda’s Bar and Grill
Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today and Thursday
Location: the Pit
Info: unccensus2010.wordpress.com and census.gov
The census is required by law. Those who do not complete the census could be fined up to $100.
In 2000, 64 percent of the state responded, said Bob Coats, Gov. Bev Perdue’s census liaison. The national average was 67 percent.
A team of UNC public relations students is publicizing the census as part of the Bateman Case Study Competition. The team targets low-responding audiences, such as college students, and tries to debunk myths that personal information disclosed in the census will be shared.
“So far, people have been really receptive. It’s just not something that’s on people’s minds a lot,” said team member Amy Dobrzynski.
The team is asking students to pledge to fill out the census forms when they are mailed mid-March.
They also are working with the Residence Hall Association to put forms in the hands of on-campus students. Students living off campus will receive forms in the mail.
The U.S. Census Bureau has tried to make it easier to complete the census, Coats said. It now contains only ten questions and is available in different languages.
The more extensive form distributed to some households in the past is replaced by the American Community Survey, which will instead collect information throughout the decade.
The questionnaires should be mailed back by April 1, National Census Day. In mid-April, census workers will go door-to-door to collect information from people who did not mail their responses.
“It’s a really important civic duty,” said UNC junior Stacy Merrick, who pledged in the Pit on Tuesday to participate in the census.
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