The federal Census Bureau is already getting ready for its next headcount in 2010. Census spokeswoman Cynthia Johnson says there’s one change that will make it easier for people asked to fill out the census form. The "long form" given to some of the households surveyed was somewhat of a chore, with more than forty questions compared with just 7 on the short form. This time around, they’re not going to use the long form at all.
Johnson says the information gathered by the census is important to many different agencies and organizations. Those census counts are used to draw the boundaries for congressional and legislative districts, and other state entities like board of education and public-service commission. She says for local and state governments, the numbers in a new census report equal dollar signs.
The states are extremely interested in getting accurate counts, because the population numbers can mean a difference in the federal dollars that are returned to the states in the form of spending on many different programs. Johnson says computers are already being prepared to take the data gathered during the census.