Students Realize Importance of Census

For prison inmates, monastery inhabitants, nursing home residents, homeless shelter guests and even Harvard students, yesterday was a day to stand up and be counted.

By tomorrow, all individual residents of group quarters--including Harvard students--should have received and returned a 2000 federal census form.

Census forms began appearing in House mailboxes yesterday--first-years received them a week earlier--and student enumerators will be collecting forms in all dining halls through dinner tomorrow night.


But the census will continue at Harvard until virtually all students have returned their forms.

"There's a sense of urgency," said Steven E. Clinkenbeard, manager of the Census Bureau's district office. "We are committed to get absolutely as close to 100 percent as possible, following up for a month and even beyond if necessary."

The census--which occurs every 10 years, as mandated by the Constitution--asks questions concerning the residence, age, race and ethnicity of all respondents.

Federal, state and local governments use the information it provides for political redistricting and funding distribution. Private industry also uses the data to determine where to place franchises and factories.

David J. Bright '02, the crew leader in charge of the census at Harvard, said the distribution and collection of forms has gone smoothly so far.

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