In an effort to increase awareness of the nation’s once-a-decade population count, the U.S. Census Bureau has begun a cross-country road tour.
The 2010 Census Portrait of America Road Tour kicked off last week in New York City’s Times Square and will appear at more than 800 events nationwide—including parades, festivals, and major sporting events.
By law, both citizen and noncitizen residents living in the U.S. must be counted every 10 years. Individual answers are confidential. No individually identifying information may be shared with any other agency. The data collected from the census is used to reapportion congressional seats to states and directly affects how more than $400 billion per year in federal funding is distributed to state, local, and tribal governments. The Portrait of America Tour aims to teach people the importance of the census and motivate the population to complete and mail back the 10-question forms that will arrive at homes across the nation in mid-March.
"Attendees at Road Tour events will learn about the census, how it affects their local communities, and even share their personal stories about why the census is important to them at interactive kiosks and exhibits,” explained Census Bureau Director Robert Groves in a press release for the event.
Over the next few months, regional launch events will see Census Road Tour vehicles departing from national landmarks across America, such as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the USS Constitution in Boston, and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. These regional vehicles will be outfitted with GPS technology, allowing people to track the tour through regular postings on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, and YouTube.