The upcoming US Census matters to rural small businesses because it will affect your community for the next ten years.
Census data is key to:
- Federal grants, especially CDBG and Rural Development
- Economic development efforts
- Redrawing political boundaries from Congressional districts, all the way down to local political boundaries
- Every single person counted brings $790 back to the community through grants and programs
(I heard that $790 figure from Brent Kisling, Enid (OK) economic developer at a meeting of the Northwest Oklahoma Alliance.)
Most small towns and small businesses can’t afford to do their own research of population or demographics, so Census data is usually the best available data. That makes it in your own best interest to be sure the Census data is as good as possible.
Once big problem the Census faces is that rural people can be very private, and resent anyone prying into personal information. Good news; this year the Census form is only 10 questions. Also, the Census Bureau is forbidden by Federal law to share anyone’s answers with any other agency, including law enforcement.
Census day is April 1, 2010. Start by looking around the 2010 Census site for more information
What can your small business do?
- Talk to your employees about participating.
- Print the simple factsheet at the Census Bureau site and make it available to customers.
- Use your marketing, online and offline, to promote participation. (There is a promotional toolkit available from the Census Bureau and even more materials here.)
- Help other local organizations with their census outreach.
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