Census 2010: city spends some to make some - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Census 2010: city spends some to make some

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Starting Monday, millions of Americans will get a reminder in the mail to fill out Census 2010. Next week, the actual surveys will go out to most people. Those in very rural areas may have already received their forms.

With fill-out time approaching, some cities are spending money to make sure everyone in town completes the census. The city of Dubuque is spending $25,000 throughout this month and the first part of April for ads encouraging people to complete the questionnaire.

"Take ten minutes to answer ten questions that will impact the future of our community." In Dubuque, that's the message you'll see around town for Census 2010.

"Our goal is to reach everyone. That's the goal of the census: Everyone counts," Dubuque Public Information Officer Randy Gehl said.

The local census campaign was organized by what's called a "Complete Count Committee".

"Around 50 people participated, representing a wide variety of constituent groups in town," Gehl said.

The National Census Bureau provided many promotional give-aways for Dubuquers, from notebooks to wetwipes that say Census 2010.

Dubuque is promoting the census for free on its Web site, utility bill inserts, and the city cable channel, but the city is also buying census ads on cable TV, radio, print publications, and billboards. Dubuque will spend $25,000 on census ads this year. That's around double the ad budget from Census 2000.

"A number of people felt Dubuque was undercounted in the 2000 Census, so with that in mind, it was decided we would put an extra emphasis on a complete count for this census," Gehl said.

City officials say the money's worth it because a lot of things are determined from the census; officials say some $400 billion of federal funding to local communities depends on demographics collected in the census.

"A lot of people may not realize that a lot of decisions in the private sector are also based on census data. If a company may be considering coming to a community, they may base that on census data or work force data that's based on census data."

City officials say in Dubuque minorities, non-English speakers and people in transitional housing are undercounted. The city is targeting those groups; one example: TV ads on the Spanish-language channel.

Another reason officials want everyone in Iowa to fill out the census is votes in the legislature. Iowa stands to lose a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives if the population count isn't high enough compared to increases in other states.

Online Reporter: Jamie Grey

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