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|Mail your census form today|
The population of Monroe hovers perilously near the 50,000-mark, with hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funding in the balance.
Regardless, the city's participation in the 2010 Census is far below the national average.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development - which administers Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) - typically relies on U.S. Census data to determine if a city has reached a population of 50,000.
The 50,000-population mark qualifies the community to apply individually for the block grants. In fiscal year 2009, the federal government distributed $4 billion to communities to pay for new roads, water-treatment plants and for municipal code enforcement. In fiscal year 2007-2008, Monroe received nearly $900,000 in CDBG funding for affordable housing, employee training and mental health services.
As of April 12, the city's census participation rate was 60 percent, six points less than the national average of 66 percent.
"If the residents of Monroe, want to ensure they're receiving their fair share of federal funding, they need to complete and return their census questionnaires," said Gabriel Sanchez, director of the Dallas Regional Census Center, which oversees the census count in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
The American Community Survey – the Census Bureau's ongoing statistical survey – indicates that between 2000 and 2008, the city of Monroe's population dropped from 53,013 to 51,215. The decrease highlights the importance of each 2010 Census questionnaire returned by households in that city.
While the 50,000-population mark qualifies cities to apply for CDBG grants individually, smaller communities must pair with counties with populations exceeding 200,000 to apply for the funds.
Census questionnaires were required to be in the mail by April 16 to ensure that forms will arrive on time.
Door-to-door census counts are the most expensive way for the Census Bureau to collect statistical information. If every household returned its questionnaire, the federal government would save about $1.5 billion, the Census Bureau estimates. Homes that don't return their questionnaires by April 16 should expect a visit by census workers in May. All households in Monroe – and across the United States – are counted by the Census Bureau, which is carrying out Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution. The mandate states that all inhabitants of the United States must be counted every 10 years.
Those who are visited by census workers are asked to provide the information sought in the 10-question form. Census workers will not ask for sensitive financial information (such as social security numbers or bank account information) and they will not seek to enter your home.