About a week before April 1, the Census Bureau expects most households will receive a questionnaire by mail. More than 285,000 census takers and support personnel will be used to account for about 118 million housing units and 275 million people in the nation.
Individual records are kept confidential for 72 years, but past information can be requested to help individuals qualify for a pension or obtain an inheritance. Information taken in 2000 may be used in 2072 for family genealogy research.
There are two forms used for those who participate in the census -- a short and long form. The short form, actually the bureau reports it is the shortest in 180 years taking just 10 minutes to complete, includes questions on population and housing. Questions include name, race, sex, age, relationship, Hispanic origin, home owner or renter.
The long form covers 34 subjects in population and housing. Items include place of birth, citizenship, education level, ancestry, language spoken at home, occupation, income, vehicles available, rent, house heating fuel, plumbing and kitchen facilities, and number of rooms.
New in 2000, the census will go to about 83 percent of housing units in the nation. Five subjects on the 1990 census short form that were moved to the Census 2000 long form are marital status, units in structure, number of rooms, value of home and monthly rent. Five other subjects dropped in the last 10 years are children ever born, year last worked, source of water, sewage disposal and condominium status.
The only new subject for the 2000 long form indicates a growing change in grandparents as care givers, which was needed by the welfare reform act of 1996.
In Minnesota, regional offices were set up in Duluth. Between April and June, thousands of census takers will follow up on those not responding to forms mailed in March. Working between 8 a.m. and dusk Monday though Saturday, individuals will be hired for part-time or full-time jobs. Pay varies. Mileage is reimbursed 31 cents per mile. For more information, call 529-9440, or visit the Web site at http://www.census.gov.
The Census Bureau comes from the Economics and Statistics Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
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