Jillian Dickman

2010 will offer a scaled-down census, allowing citizens across the nation to answer 10 questions in 10 minutes.

Oxford City Manager Doug Elliott said this year’s slogan, “In Our Hands,” emphasizes the chance for general population to take part in their community.

“The shorter version of the census this year will focus more on the socioeconomic aspects of society and will be much easier for citizens to answer,” Elliott said.

Media Specialist Team Leader Kim Hunter, who works for the Census Bureau in Detroit, said citizens have had a hard time completing the 60-question census in previous years due to the amount of time it took to complete the large number of questions.

“By shortening up this form, we are making the process easier for those who take part,” Hunter said. “This year’s census will serve folks in a form by getting a much better demographic picture of the population as a whole. It will focus on fun facts including how many people live in each home, each person’s age, race and name as well as facts concerning plumbing and roads.”

Hunter said the results of the census will determine the make-up of the U.S. House of Representatives and the distribution of more than $400 billion in federal revenue.

According to Hunter, census results will also affect business plans and grant proposals, placing and funding of infrastructure and the ways communities will meet their needs.

Hunter said this information is crucial and depends on an accurate count of the general population.

“The questions that are disregarded will not disappear but will simply ‘migrate’ from the census to the American Community Survey, a nationwide survey designed to provide communities with a fresh look at how they are changing,” Hunter said. “It collects information every year as opposed to every 10 years.”

The American Community Survey will provide more detailed information but will serve only a portion of the population as a whole, Elliott said.

According to Elliott, students in Oxford should also fill out the form as a resident of Oxford.

“If students register to vote here (in Oxford) they should respond as if they are permanent residents here,” Elliott said.

Hunter said the questionnaires will be distributed within homes in mid-March and must be mailed back in a timely matter, preferably on or before April 1.