|Congressman Carson: 'Everyone Must Be Counted'|
April 1, 2010
INDIANAPOLIS - Congressman André Carson, joined by Indianapolis Complete Count Committee Co-Chairs Amos Brown and Steve Smith, will engage members of the local Latino community in an effort to bolster census participation among the hard-to-reach minority population.
WHEN: TODAY (Thursday), 11 a.m.
WHERE: Hawthorne Community Center, 70 N. Mount Street*
(*Hawthorne is an official Census "Be Counted Center" where residents can come to pick up Census forms if they don't have one and seek answers to questions)
From creating jobs to expanding and growing the economy to funding vital social services like health care and education, the Census plays a critical role. Nearly $400 billion in federal funding is divided up in communities across America using Census data.
While Indianapolis' 2010 Census mail-back rate is among the best for large cities in the nation to date, the Congressman pointed to census tracts within the city where participation is low.
"The census tract where this event will be held has a 29 percent mail-back rate, compared to the 51 percent participation rate countywide," Carson said. "Despite our city's overall positive response rate, we still have work to do in neighborhoods like the near-westside."
Carson said that engaging the Latino community is vital to increasing census mail-back rates because participation is traditionally lower among minority populations-especially within households where English is not the first language.
"There's a language barrier that must be overcome, and the census has prepared for that by producing forms in many languages, including Spanish. Secondly, there's often a concern with the confidentiality of the information provided, especially if that person is not a documented resident," Carson stated.
"We need to get the message out that the information people provide for the census is strictly confidential, and no one needs to worry about immigration officials or any other law enforcement reviewing these census forms. Thanks to the good work of the Latino leaders we will meet with today, I am confident we can get this message out and increase census participation, because everyone must be counted."
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