Given the bureaucratic back story of a two-thousand year old event that many St. Louisans are about to celebrate, it seems timely to talk about a census.
I have written and spoken before about how important it is that every resident of St. Louis be counted in next year's federal Census. The Census, which is supposed to count everyone, is used to allocate federal funds ' about $400 billion - for education, housing, health care, transportation, unemployment benefits, and other needs. That means, obviously, you and your neighbors have to step up to be counted. That means, less obviously, college students, prisoners, the homeless, new immigrants, and undocumented residents do, too.
Not every group will be easy to find. And not every group will immediately understand ' or trust - a federal Census worker. That's where you, your social club, your classroom, and your church come in. St. Louis needs every resident to participate in the Census ' and the City needs you to pass along the government's assurance that the Census Bureau will not share the information it gathers with any other agency, including the Department of Homeland Security.
Census forms will be available in late March 2010, to be returned in April. I will be reminding you often how important a complete count will be for the City over the next decade.