As required by Article I, _2 of the United States Constitution, the United States Census Bureau will be taking the national census this year and as required by Title 13, _221 of the United States Code, you must participate.
History of the Census. Soon after the Revolutionary War ended, the Founding Fathers had to figure out both the number of seats each state would have in Congress and each states' respective share of the huge war debt. The most equitable way to do it was proportionately, i.e., states with more people would have greater representation, but also pay a greater share of the debt. Finding out how many people there were in each state gave rise to the need for a national census (though it wasn't a novel idea census data had been collected in the colonies since the early 1600's).
The Census Today. Since the first census was taken in 1790 and counted a total of 3.9 million U.S. resident (yes, including women and slaves), the purpose of taking it has broadened substantially. The census results are still used to determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, but they are also used to guide how federal funding will be allocated to communities across the nation for things like schools, hospitals, senior centers, emergency services, job training centers and public works projects.
The 2010 Census. The 2010 census consists of ten (10) basic questions about your family and your household. It should arrive in your mailbox sometime in mid-March. If you fail to return it by mail, a census taker will show up at your door soon thereafter and ask you the questions in person (and actually, the law provides that criminal charges can be brought for failing to participate, even though it is unheard of that anyone's arrested). Finally, the results must be delivered to the President by December, 2010. At stake this year? A piece of the $400 billion pie that the government is ready to spend on local communities. So help your community get their slice by returning your census as soon as possible.