By ANDREA LAYCOCK
BYU students represent many different states and countries, but all students must be counted in Provo’s census as a part of the United States Census 2000.
The United States Constitution requires a census of the United States every ten years, and everyone living in the United States on April 1, 2000 must be counted.
A major reason why students should participate in the census is because accurate census counts are needed to distribute government funds. They are funneled to communities like Provo for highways, schools, health facilities, and many other social programs, said Vern Keeslar, long range planner for Provo City.
“It is estimated that about 160 dollars will be given for federal programs per person per year,” Keeslar said.
To motivate students to participate in the census, city census officials are working with student leadership organizations at BYU and UVSC, Keeslar said.
A Census Questionnaire Assistance Center will be set up outside of the Jabcobson Center for Service and Learning in the Wilkinson Student Center on March 8. The center will provide assistance to students filling out census forms and will answer any questions student might have about the census, Keeslar said.
“It is our civic responsibility to establish good community relations with Provo by participating in the census,” said Danny Olsen, university director for assessment.
On March 15, students living in dormitories, apartments and houses will be mailed a census questionnaire which will ask for information about each person’s name, sex, age, race, relationship and housing situation.
Before the census questionnaires are mailed out, students will receive a letter from President Bateman through their route Y accounts reminding students of the importance of participating in the census, Olsen said.
All students, regardless of where they are from, are counted where they attend school or live on April 1, according to the Bureau of the Census.
“This is a critical time period for students to become aware and participate in the census because they must respond to the census before they leave for the summer,” Olsen said.
The last census, taken in 1990, received a participation rate of 64 percent from Provo’s population, Keeslar said.
This low representation is partly due to the timing of the distribution of census forms, Olsen said. Students were expected to complete the forms just as the BYU semester was ending, he said.
“Provo is a little more aggressive about promoting the census this year so citizens understand that they will get a positive return on their investment,” Olsen said.
This year’s census will be easier for students to complete because the census Bureau is allowing up to 100 million citizens to file their census forms online at http://www.2000.censusgov./2k/recform.html.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is also highly involved in the census, said Brent Laurence, manager of the Utah South Local Census Office.
The First Presidency of the LDS church signed a letter that was read to congregations March 5 urging members of the church to respond to the census in an urgent and timely manner.
Information gathered from the Census will affect the distribution of almost $200 billion in federal funds and even more state funds, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The Census will help ensure each state is equally represented by determining how many congressional representatives each state is allowed.
The final census count of the United States will be delivered to the president on December 31, 2000.