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Each month approximately 12,000 Ohioans turn 60, joining the ranks of the sixth largest senior population among the 50 states. During the 1950s, Ohio gained 1.8 million residents, growing 22 percent compared to 19 percent for the nation. However, from 2000 to 2007, Ohio's population grew only 1.0 percent, while the nation's population grew 7.2 percent. Only four states (Louisiana, North Dakota, Rhode Island and West Virginia) have grown more slowly.
How do we know this? U.S. census data tells us.
Census data determines Ohio's representation in the U.S. House of Representatives over the next decade, and many federal programs that provide services to Ohio's seniors, including home delivered meals, long-term care ombudsman programs and senior employment programs, use census data to determine how much funding the state will get.
In March, every residence in the United States will receive a census form. The 2010 Census aims to count all U.S. residents, citizens and non-citizens alike. When you get the form, fill it out to account for everyone living at your address as of April 1, 2010, then mail it back as soon as possible using the prepaid envelope included with the form.
If you do not complete and return your census form, you can expect a knock on your door in May or June from a U.S. Census Bureau employee who will complete your form with you.
If you have more than one residence, you will receive forms at all addresses. Snowbirds, Ohioans who spend part of the year in another state, such as Florida, should list their Ohio residence as their permanent household if they spend the majority of the year here.
The 2010 Census will be one of the shortest and simplest in U.S. history. It requires less personal information than a typical credit card application - just 10 basic questions including name, sex, age and date of birth, Hispanic origin, race, household relationship and if you own or rent your home. The 2010 Census does not ask about bank account information, salary or income, citizenship or immigration status or Social Security numbers. Be wary of anybody who asks for this information claiming to represent the Census.
Any personal data you provide will be kept confidential. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share your personally identifiable information with anyone, including the IRS, FBI, CIA or any other government agency. Penalties for any employee who shares that information are severe - up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
If you do not receive a census form by April 1, call the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance center at 1-866-872-6868 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week through July 30, 2010. For more information about the 2010 Census, visit www.census.ohio.gov.