Five Reasons that South Asians Count in 2010
You see the commercials. You see the ads. You see the billboards. The 2010 Census Campaign is HERE.
So what is the hype?
The Census is a population count mandated by the United States Constitution, to be taken every ten years. The year 2010 is a historic one for this campaign in that it will be the most widely publicized Census survey and one that will present a new, current portrait of America.
it is crucial that every single individual in the United States BE COUNTED.
An accurate population count will determine how 400 billion dollars in federal funds will be distributed to counties and cities. The Pakistani community, as part of a larger South Asian community, is an integral part of this country and should make sure to participate in this survey in order to eventually benefit from these federal funds.
Consisting of only ten questions this year, the US Census is a simple and safe form that does NOT ask questions regarding sensitive information like immigration status or social security numbers. Rather, it asks questions like the number of people in your household, and whether you rent or own your home.
Additionally and most importantly, all answers in the form remain CONFIDENTIAL. Title 13 of the US Constitution protects the confidentiality of all information and violating this law is a crime with severe penalties. In addition, other federal laws, including the Confidential Statistical Efficiency Act and the Privacy Act reinforce these protections.
Five reasons to fill out your Census Questionnaire:
1. Helps build prosperity in your community
Does your neighborhood have traffic jams, elderly folks who live alone or overcrowded schools? Census data can help define strategies to make necessary public improvements in your community.
2. Help in a time of need
Many emergency services linked to 9/11 are structured based on maps developed with the data from the previous census.
Census information helps health providers predict how a disease is spread through communities between members of the population.
When natural tragedies like tornados and earthquakes occur, the census indicates to the rescue teams how many people may need aid.
3. Puts Government to work for you
It’s a great way to let our leaders know who we are and what we need. The numbers are used to help determine the distribution of more than $400 billion in federal and state funds. The money will help to finance educational and school lunch programs, medical centers, emergency services, transportation and other needs in our community.
4. Reduces risk for businesses
Since census numbers help reduce the financial risk and allow the identification of potential markets, businesses can produce the products that you want and need.
5. It will help you and your family
The individual data stay confidential for 72 years, but you can request a certificate of past censuses to use it as verification of your age, residence, or kinship. This information can help you apply for a pension, establish citizenship or to obtain an inheritance. In 2082 your great-grandchildren will be able to use census information to learn about the history of your family.
Today your children can use the information to assist them with homework assignments.
Thanks to the fact that we have had a census every 10 years since 1790, we know how far we have come, and how much we have changed as a nation.
While the actual Census form reflects a focus on ethnic categorizations, everyone is encouraged to fill out those boxes according to how they identify themselves. However you identify yourself-whether you are Pakistani, Indian, Bengali, Sri Lankan, or Nepali-make sure you fill out the form because it all translates to money and power for our cities and counties.
To increase accessibility, the Census has made information available in multiple languages including Urdu, Hindi, Arabic, Farsi, and many others online at 2010Census.gov
South Asian-Americans are proud and contributing members of society here in the United States. This privileged status also comes with the responsibility of civic engagement- and the best and easiest way to do that is to take 10 minutes to answer 10 questions that will affect the next 10 years.
Ultimately, it’s in our hands- humaare haathohn main hai.
(Shazia Kamal is a community activist and Partnership Assistant for the United States Census Bureau)