2010 US Census by the Numbers

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We can’t move forward until you mail it back. You’ve probably heard or seen one or more of the numerous commercials heralding the mid-March arrival of the 2010 census questionnaire. Why the blitz of marketing? Because, according to a Government Accounting Office (GAO) report, it’s getting harder and harder to count America’s growing population.

It’s getting more expensive, too. Back in 2001, when preparation for this constitutionally-mandated national head count began, the GAO estimated the cost at more than $11 billion. That’s approximately $72 for every household counted. The cost estimate has since risen to nearly $15 billion.

Those are big numbers. Here are some more.

$400 billion. The amount of annual federal funding for infrastructure and social services that will be distributed based on 2010 census figures.

$4 billion. Depending on which report you believe, the 2000 census missed three to six million people, resulting in as much as $4 billion of undistributed federal funds over a ten year period.

$2.5 million. The cost of the 30-second ad that aired during the third quarter of Super Bowl 44.

750,000. The number of temporary employees the Census Bureau will have put to work by the end of the 2010 census.

150,000. The Census Road Tour, a public relations event designed to increase the response level, will travel 150,000 miles across the US from January through April. The tour, which consists of 13 vehicles, will last 1,547 days (4 months x 30 days x 13 vehicles) and will stop at 800 events.

40,000. In addition to the census questionnaires mailed to 130,000 million addresses, forms printed in six languages will be available in 40,000 stores, government offices, libraries, and gas stations, as well as 30,000 centers that will also offer guidebooks written in 59 languages.

10. The 2010 census form consists of ten questions. There are seven additional questions for each household member.

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