Americans have responsibility to complete census

April 1 is National Census Day. And while you might not have known that, you probably are aware that the 2010 United States Census is already here. In addition to the national marketing campaign for the census, Carnegie Mellon has also been doing its part to encourage students to participate. Though it might seem like a nuisance, we’re excited that the administration has taken this stance. President Cohon recently e-mailed the campus community reminding us of the census and highlighting its value. Resident assistants will be following up, actually providing students with the appropriate forms.

The slogan for this year’s census is “We can’t move forward until you mail it back.” We all acknowledge that census data is important. The information is used, according to the census website, to “advocate for causes, rescue disaster victims, prevent diseases, research markets, locate pools of skilled workers and more,” as well as allocate more than $400 billion to states and communities.

Large, national changes have also been made. The census form has only 10 questions and should take only 10 minutes to complete. You can track census data online, real-time, with interactive maps that show the participation for various regions. Carnegie Mellon currently has a 35 percent response rate. The Census Bureau has also launched a TV ad campaign using census form-themed graphics, including personified ‘X’s, to demonstrate the importance of the census data. The ads stress issues from schools and roads to hospitals and community development, while incorporating a sleek design.

We are pleased to see that the university is taking an active role in promoting the 2010 Census, and hope that students will take it seriously as well.