Afton Branche wrote an article in the Huffington Post yesterday articulating why Colorado stands to benefit from an accurate and timely census. She wrote:
Only a successful 2010 Census can help Denver gets its fair share of the over the $400 billion in federal and state funding that is distributed based on population data. This means for every household counted, the city receives funding to use for hiring teachers, repairing roads, building public transportation and other critical services. Without these resources, city and state leaders cannot plan and provide for the needs of a growing population.
The census is more than a population survey for the government; the ten-minute survey is also an invaluable source of intelligence for the private sector. Large and small businesses rely upon demographic data to make investment decisions, expand markets, open new stores, limit risk, and answer questions like: Will there be enough customers to support my new location? Can this area provide the workforce I need? For example, if a child care provider wants to open a new daycare center, he or she can use age and population figures to determine how many children currently live in a target area. And a grocery chain can use census data to determine whether a potential store is within driving distance of target customers.
For retailers and other businesses, an accurate portrait of Denver’s growing population reveals growing markets. A full count will help Denver demonstrate its market potential to investors looking to determine whether the region has enough customers to support new services or the workforce necessary to staff new franchises. And more than ever, businesses will need to rely on this information to maximize scarce resources and minimize the risks of major ventures.
The the growing influence of right-wing libertarianism and fear of government intrusion into the household has led an alarmingly high number of people to boycott the census out of an odd sense of principle. Calling themselves defenders of the Constitution, these people are thwarting the federal government from effectively carrying out one of the duties explicitly assigned to it by the Constitution itself–i.e. taking the census.
As Branche astutely points out, however, inaccurate census numbers have actual consequences regarding private-sector investment, and federal funding for public goods and services.
In other words, the census should not be viewed as a nefarious government plot designed to penetrate into every household in America, and failing to do it could have far reaching and unintended consequences. So, please. Fill out your census packets and send them in.