With luck, your kids won’t have too much homework to do this weekend. But you do: Your census form.
The 2010 Census questionnaire came in the mail this week, and the 10 questions on it (that’s right, only 10) determine how many seats New Jersey gets in Congress, what the legislative district boundaries are, and, if that doesn’t convince you of its importance, how many dollars of federal government spending will come back to our community. Census officials are promising that the form, which is far shorter this time than it was for previous tallies, will only take 10 minutes to complete.
The state of New Jersey has created a 2010 Census Web site with answers to lots of commonly asked questions–in English and several other languages. One key point for Jerseyites who spend time in Florida: The Census is based on where you live or sleep most of the time. Your “usual residence” for Census purposes is not necessarily the same as your voting residence or legal residence. And while kids in boarding school should be counted as still residing at home, kids living away at college are counted as residents of their college town.
You’ve got until April 1 to mail your Census form back, which is plenty of time. If the Census doesn’t hear from you, you’ll get another form in the mail, and if that still doesn’t do the trick, the Census bureau will be sending workers door to door to collect the data it needs. If you want one of those jobs, which pay between $14 and $18.75 an hour, all the information is here.