March 10, 2010 Edition

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Why the census is important

Most people have received a reminder in the mail about the upcoming 2010 Census. Following a year of promotional messages through broadcast and print media, the 2010 Census is actually due to be mailed to each household this month.

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said, "It is very important for all Arkansans to respond to the census and to ensure their forms are complete and accurate."

The census plays a very large role in determining how nearly $400 billion in federal funds are spent each year for infrastructure and other services for all of the states. McDaniel said, "For every Arkansan who is not counted the state will lose approximately $1,300 in funds that would help create jobs, provide services and enhance our infrastructure."

The census affects the lives of Arkansans in other ways as well. It is used to determine how many of the 435 seats are allocated to a state in the House of Representatives. Currently Arkansas has four members in the House.

In addition, the data is used by policymakers as a factor in deciding where to build roads, hospitals, housing, schools and more.

Businesses often use the census data as a means to determine the location of retail stores, housing and other facilities.

"The census contains just 10 questions," McDaniel pointed out. "It only takes a few minutes to complete and has a real impact on the lives of Arkansans."

To learn more about the census process visit McDaniel's website at www.arkansasag.gov and click on "Census 2010." For phone assistance call 800-482-8982.

"The 2010 Census is important," McDaniel said. "The goal of every census is to come as close as possible to accurately counting every person residing in the United States."

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