© Copyright 1999 by the Wyoming Department of Employment, Research & Planning

Census 2000
edited by: Carol Kjar, Statistical Technician

"Without the full count of Wyoming's residents, the state stands to lose a significant amount of federal dollars which we need to continue our economic and social developments."

N ot only is 2000 the beginning of the new millennium (or the year before a new millennium), it is also a year in which Americans are asked to stand up and count off. Article 1, Section 2 of our Constitution requires that the U.S. government conduct a decennial (every ten years) census. This census was first conducted in 1790 when there were approximately 3.5 million people living in the newly-formed United States.

The week before Census Day, April 1, 2000, one of two questionnaires will be mailed to all households in this nation, the long form or the short form. The majority of households will receive the short form version of the census. Having all citizens of Wyoming fill out and return the census forms is very important to the state of Wyoming, because many federal funds are allocated based on the population numbers obtained from the census (see Figure). The Census Bureau estimates that approximately $182 billion will be distributed annually based on formulas that use census data. Without the full count of Wyoming’s residents, the state stands to lose a significant amount of federal dollars which we need to continue our economic and social developments.

Each decennial census is conducted with a new set of questionnaires, refined and reworded in order to collect a wide range of demographic data. The 2000 Census will be the first since 1880 that will not ask for marital status. Buried deep within Public Law 106-69, the U.S. Department of Transportation FY99 appropriations bill, is a statement by the U.S. Senate expressing its dissatisfaction with the Census Bureau regarding the elimination of marital status from the short questionnaire form. "Census data showing an exact account of the numbers of persons who are married, single, or divorced provides critical information which serves as an indicator on the prevalence of marriage in society . . . It is the sense of the Senate that the United States Census Bureau has wrongfully decided not to include marital status on the census questionnaire to be distributed to the majority of Americans . . . " Both forms may currently be viewed on the Census Bureau web site along with the explanations for this undertaking.

*Information for this article was taken from the U.S. Census Bureau web site.

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