Students who have spent six months or more per year living in Rochester will be required to fill out the census with Rochester as their primary place of residence.
Census forms were delivered to every residential address in March, and will be delivered to on campus housing in April and May.
Traditionally, college students have been under counted in the census, according to census reports. RAs will help to remedy this problem at UR by counting their residents as a group.
‘This year the Census Bureau has instituted some changes to address this issue,” Wayne Wintert, a member of the Rochester branch of the U.S. Census Bureau said. ‘We will be sending folks to areas where students live off campus, other than dorms and fraternity houses, to follow up on those that do not mail back the form starting on April 24, 2010.”
The location where an individual spends most of their time is generally where he or she is counted in the census; most college students spend the majority of their time at school.
After all the census data is gathered, a local office collects the surveys and sends them to a headquarters in Jeffersonville, Ind., where all the data is compiled. Then the data is presented to the President on or before Dec. 31 of this year. Congress then decides how to act in regard to the given data.
The local offices have temporary employees, as the process only lasts one year, from September to September. The job in Rochester started with six managers and today has a little over 400 employees. In a month there will be an estimated 1,500 or more employees working for the Census Bureau of Rochester.
All census employees are sworn in for life to eliminate confidentiality issues.
A major purpose of the census is to ensure that there is fair representation in Congress. According to President Joel Seligman, this can have particular impact on a college campus.
‘The more effective our Congressional representation, the more likely it is that the state and the UR will be effectively heard and considered in innumerable federal decisions, including those that touch on student scholarship programs and support for research universities,” Seligman said.
An accurate census count also helps our government to determine the direction of government programs.
For instance, the need for programs that provide funding for roads, hospitals, schools, senior centers and more is deeply influenced by the census.
Census data also helps distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds each year for local services, such as public transportation, campus safety, scholarship programs and more.
Beyond these functions, the census information is instrumental in aiding disaster victims, disease prevention, providing data for important research and decisions on where to locate schools and other businesses.