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The Aging Network

Information Memoranda

INFORMATION MEMORANDUM
AoA-IM-00-01

TO :

STATE AND AREA AGENCIES ADMINISTERING PLANS UNDER TITLE III AND TRIBAL ORGANIZATIONS ADMINISTERING PLANS UNDER TITLE VI OF THE OLDER AMERICANS ACT OF 1965, AS AMENDED

SUBJECT :  The 2000 Census

LEGAL AND RELATED : Older Americans Act, As Amended

REFERENCES :


Purpose

This memorandum underscores the importance of the 2000 Census. It requests the Aging Network to take the lead at state and community levels in urging older persons to complete and return their census forms and to participate as temporary census workers or volunteers.

Background

Census 2000 will be the largest peacetime effort in the history of the United States. Hundreds of thousands of census takers and support personnel will strive to account for the anticipated 118 million housing units and 275 million people across the United States. The importance of the census can not be overestimated. Federal and state funds supporting schools, employment services, housing assistance, road construction, programs for older persons, and several other activities are distributed based on census figures.

In late March, most of us (about 83 percent) will receive the short-form questionnaire covering just seven subjects, the shortest it has been in 180 years. One out of six households (a higher proportion in rural areas) will be asked to respond to the long form. That covers over thirty subjects but only one new one, grandparents as caregivers.

The Challenge

With each decade, it has become more difficult to count everyone in the decennial census. The percentage of people who mailed back their census forms dropped from 78 percent in 1970 to 65 percent in 1990. The number of people who were missed altogether rose significantly. In particular, minority individuals have shown a reluctance to participate in the census. We need to be concerted in our efforts to reverse those trends.

State and Area Agencies on Aging are well placed to mount education and information campaigns to get the word out on the importance of Census 2000. SUAs in Regions IV and VI are now cooperating with the Census Bureau to promote participation in the census. Let’s follow their example, paying particular attention to minority elders in our outreach and education efforts.

This is a rare year. The message might well be: not only does your response count, you count, so be counted.

Older persons can also participate in the census as workers or volunteers. It is not too late to sign up. The number to call is 1-888-325-7733.

Jeanette C. Takamura
Assistant Secretary for Aging




Last Modified: 12/31/1600