Soon we will all receive the decennial census forms to complete. Completing this census form and returning it is vitally important. This years census form is being promoted as the “shortest” form ever by the Census Bureau. Hopefully it means a better return.
However, the Decennial Census is to be supported by data that is being collected as part of the “American Community Survey.” A more detailed look at America that is being conducted annually. The American Community Survey (ACS) is supposed to provide us with the information that is not being collected by the April 1 count, the data usually included in both the short and long forms of the ten year census.
Here’s the rub. The only city in Massachusetts with ACS data is Boston. Barnstable County is one of several Massachusetts Counties with no data available. What it means is that, with the reduction in questions on the short form, and the elimination of the long form, less data is being collected and the Town of Dennis, and all of Barnstable County is being short-changed.
The Census if far more important that just the count. In the past the Census collected income, age of housing, journey to work and lots of additional, important, information. As we move forward from Census 2010, we will be needing to look for new sources of data to make up for the short-comings of Census 2010.
This actually makes it even more important you return your Census form on April 1st as we will need that base count of population to be able to properly extrapolate other data sources to get a good picture of the town.