Census: Make our Diversity Known

 Census Data 2010

% of people that have returned their Census form as of 3/22/10

nation wide- 20%

Oregon – 13%

In Oregon:

Grant County leads with 40%

Morrow County pulls up the rear with 2%

Want to see how your county compares? Check out the Census map, updated each week.

I adore the Census; for me, filling it out was a snatch up my form, run to apartment and fill it out with a giddiness normally reserved for a beautiful day kind of excitement. It’s amazing! People are sent around the country to count literally every single person (281 million people at last count, now…who knows!) And then, funds & political representation are dispersed accordingly. As someone who attempts to establish basic infrastructure for a living, let me say, that is an impressive system. The scope is incredible.

The census is exactly as it appears – an unprofitable, time consuming affair – and we do it anyway, because we value uncovering the face of what our nation looks like. Despite my personal glee, in truth the census is one of many systems used to oppress people of color, queers and the poor throughout our nation’s history. This year, we have the opportunity to be counted and to make sure the data collectors are accurately portraying our communities as robust, diverse and evolving.



What you need to know.

Rural communities are challenging to count! Often people live in isolated places and PO Boxes don’t receive the census. For those of us in that situation, we are lucky enough to receive a form hand delivered to our doors, though be patient, hand delivery is not fast! In case anyone is missed by the initial outreach, the more classic approach to the census will take place this summer. You have until April 1 (National Census Day! to return your form before brave census takers will stop by all non-responding doors from April to July.

If you are concerned that you’ve been overlooked – take control; get a “Be Counted” form at your nearest Assistance Center or call 1-866-872-6868.

This year, for the first time ever, gay & lesbian couples that live together will be counted! This is monumental and, while it doesn’t register queers in a relationship that don’t reside together or non-traditionally gendered people, the census is evolving quicker than most other government institutions.

The Census Bureau will process all the data and deliver the results to Pres. Obama by December to announce our new national population and demographics. Can you imagine how much our nation will have changed in this last decade!? In March 2011, we will find out how the census will affect redistricting. This means, whoever is in power in Oregon in 2011 will get the fine task of redistricting our state.

Let’s see an accurate representation of our nation’s diversity!

Census data is used to advocate for those that are most overlooked by our government & registers the growth of underserved populations in our communities, this is valuable information.

Immigrants, document and undocumented, are very likely to be undercounted. Understandably, they will be less likely to read the English forms, to understand the importance of the census or to eagerly speak with some government agent knocking on their door.

The poor, homeless and under-educated are also at extreme risk for being overlooked in the census. Some towns have made the census a priority, working with service agencies, food banks and the schools to help everyone understand that they deserve to be counted!

What can you do? Help share the message – the census is for everyone, not just citizens. Find out who in your community is leading the Census count and have a conversation about their plan for counting the immigrant & underserved communities. Offer your help, especially if you speak Spanish!

A new seat for Oregon!

Oregon is likely to get another seat in the House of Representatives because of our population growth. That is important enough in itself. There are the resources to consider to, federal funding of all kinds is determined by the census, including head start, roads, & food stamps.

Census ripples into the level of representation that communities receive on every level, it also determines who those elected people think they are representing – it makes a big difference when a significant percentage of your population changes from one census to the next. The census count is a method to claim power, a way to say – We are this community!

A new way to be counted

With redistricting and adequate representation on our minds, the elections can never be far removed from the discussion.

Oregonians can now register to vote online! As you consider the implications of your ballot and making your voice heard, think of how marvelous it would be if the diversity in our communities was reflected in diversity of representation.

ROP doesn’t advocate for any party, but we do advocate that you be an informed voter and stand up for what you believe in! Here are the current Oregon Parties. Do you know which one most represents your values? 

In just 3 minutes — with your Driver’s License number at hand — you can register to vote or change your party affiliation today. Go to http://www.oregonvotes.org/ and click “register now!”

This is a year to stand up, be counted and represent our beautiful diversity!


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