Census forms due in homes within a week

Residents across Biloxi are receiving letters from the U.S. Census, advising that 2010 Census forms will be arriving in the mail in about a week and that the forms should be filled out and promptly mailed back.

The Census Bureau is taking extraordinary efforts to help make the decennial count the most accurate in the history of the census. Efforts such as the notification letter and simplifying the Census questionnaire — 10 questions in 10 minutes — are designed to help make the “portrait of America” more accurate and user-friendly.

Figures gleaned from the Census will be used to help the government allocate more than $400 billion in federal funds annually, and in Biloxi and on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, it’s the first count since Katrina displaced thousands of residents.

“In Biloxi, the Census is going to have a major impact on City Council wards of the future,” Mayor A.J. Holloway said. “This is the most important count in the history of our city. I suspect there may be a shift in representation, with more of the City Council coming from north of the Bay of Biloxi.

“For instance, after the 1990 Census, there were one and a half wards north of the bay. After the 2000 Census, there were two and a half wards north of the bay. After 2010, with the decimation of housing in east Biloxi, we could very well see four wards north of the bay, meaning a majority of our councilmembers could come from north of the Bay.”

And what do the Census reps expect to see in the numbers? “What we want to see,” says Partnership Specialist Traycee Scott-Williams “is the most complete, the most historic count ever. It’s vitally important to all communities across the country. The Census will help decide how the government allocates over $400 billion in federal funding annually.”

Both Holloway and Scott-Williams are encouraging churches and civic groups to encourage residents to fill out and return census forms.

Scott-Williams, in fact, said she even plans to have a “Census moment” in her church, with members of the congregation reviewing and discussing each of the 10 questions in the questionnaire.

Online Census resources

To see a copy of the notification letters that have gone out this week, click here.

To see a review of the 10 questions on the 2010 Census forms, as well as multi-lingual translations of Census information, click here.

To see the current ward lines for the City of Biloxi, with Census 2000 population counts, click here.