Tuesday, March 2, 2010

2010 Census - Will LGBT People Be Counted?

In approximately two weeks the U.S. Census Bureau will begin mailing the 2010 census questionnaires to 12 million U.S. households. For those in rural areas, census workers will begin delivering the forms by hand.

The Census Bureau also is delivering forms to Gulf Coast areas affected by Hurricane Katrina to ensure everyone is included in the once-a-decade count. Census takers will deliver 2010 Census questionnaires directly to each residence in these areas, leaving a form packaged in a plastic bag at the home's main door. Residents are encouraged to fill out and mail back their census forms - using the enclosed pre-paid envelope - as soon as possible.

In 2000, about 72 percent of the population mailed back their census forms - halting a three-decade decline in the national mail participation rate. Mailing back the forms save taxpayers money, as it reduces the number of census takers that must go door-to-door to follow up with households that failed to do so. The Census Bureau saves about $85 million in operational costs for every percentage point increase in the national mail response rate.

It seems the Bureau is concerned about obtaining an accurate count of those in rural areas and those in the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast. But what about LGBT people? The census survey has 10 questions, but not one of them asks if you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

The data collected impacts issues critical to every American – like our health care, our economic stability, and even our safety. And when LGBT people aren't counted, then we also don't count when it comes to services, resources ... you name it.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has created a website, www.queerthecensus.org, where LGBT people and allies can sign a petition urging the Census Bureau to include LGBT people in all federal surveys as well as get a free sticker that says, "Attn: U.S. Census Bureau, It's Time to Count Everyone!"

To take part in the Task Force's action alert, click here.

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