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2000 Census Important for Service Members, Families

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21, 2000 – Counting the population of the United States is so important, it is an integral part of the Constitution.

This is because population determines the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives. The census is also often used to apportion funds to states and municipalities.

Military service members and their family members must be counted also. The Census Bureau will work with military officials to ensure all service members and their families are "enumerated" by the bureau.

Here's how military members are to be counted:

o Service members living in the United States are counted at their usual residence, the place where they live and sleep most of the time, whether on-base or off-base.

o Service members assigned to installations outside the United States -- including families with them -- are counted as part of the U.S. overseas population.

o Crews of ships homeported in the United States are counted at their usual onshore residence -- where they live and sleep most of the time. If they report no onshore residence they are counted at the ships' homeports.

o Crews of ships homeported outside the United States are counted as part of the U.S. overseas population.

So, this is where service members will be counted, but for apportionment of the seats in the House of Representatives, they will be assigned to their voting residence, said Census officials.

Each base has a project officer to work with the Census Bureau. Service members fill out special forms called Military Census Reports. They can claim their home addresses or report the address of their barracks. Sailors and Coast Guardsmen fill out Shipboard Census Reports.

Service members living in family housing in the United States will receive a questionnaire just like civilians in the surrounding communities. Still service members must fill out both the Military or Shipboard Census Reports and the questionnaires.

The first counts for the 2000 Census have already been made. Census Bureau Director Kenneth Prewitt personally enumerated residents of Unalakleet, Alaska, Jan. 20 to kick off the first U.S. population census of the new century. The scene will shift to the rest of the United States with about 100 million advance letters going to households between March 6 and 8. Census will mail the questionnaires March 13 to 15. April 1 is Census Day. The questionnaires will ask how many people are in the household on April 1, 2000. "That's how we get the snapshot of America," said a Census Bureau spokesperson.

The Census Bureau needs workers to fill thousands of short- term employment slots during Census 2000. Prewitt urged everyone interested in a census job to call the agency's toll-free number, 1-888-325-7733.

Military family members can apply for these jobs. DoD civilians can also work these part-time jobs on their off hours. The addresses of local census offices are available on the Internet at http://www.census.gov/hrd/www/index.html.

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