Coming up in 2020 is the Decennial Census. The Article 1, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution mandates that every 10 years, the entire population, every individual, in the United States is counted. Next year is the big year and the Census Bureau, which does the actual counting, is starting to get the word out and explain the importance of this monumental task.
And, if you’re looking for a part-time job, they’re hiring!! You can apply to help take the Census at http://www.2020census.gov/jobs. These are temporary, but well-paying positions. For assistance in applying you can call 1-855-562-2020. See the video.
One of the most important uses of the census data is to determine the distribution of Congressional seats to states. The data is also used to define legislature districts, school district assignment areas and other important functional areas of government. It’s crucial in figuring the distribution of more than $675 billion in federal funds to local, state and tribal governments each year and in making planning decisions about community services. The Census website at http://www.census.gov has all kinds of population based information including housing, income and poverty, education, and much more.
Anyone studying their family history has used census information in tracing their ancestors. The genealogy departments in the Sarasota County libraries have hundreds of print resources based on census data that researchers comb through for clues. We also provide access to important online resources in our Digital Library that contain census data. You can see and even download the actual handwritten street by street details written down by the census taker. Ancestry Library Edition and Heritage Quest are two of the most valuable online resources for genealogists free to library card holders. They both provide access to the scanned images of the original 1790 census up to 1940, the most recent census available to us due to a 72-year privacy restriction.
The Sarasota County Library system also has an online resource called Demographics Now which is based largely on Census information that can help you start a business, grow the one you have, see population patterns, consumer expenditures, and more. Go to Digital Library, then Business and Careers, and then choose Demographics Now. There is even a short tutorial you can use to get you started or just stop by the Information Desk at any Sarasota County Library and staff will be glad to show you how it works!
Submitted by Melanie Odom and Kate Lippincott
William H. Jervey Jr. Venice Public library