U.S. Census office opens in Centennial

Posted 12/3/09

A traditional Tibetan dance set against the backdrop of a quilt covered by hand prints of local kindergartners helped open an office of the U.S. …

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U.S. Census office opens in Centennial


A traditional Tibetan dance set against the backdrop of a quilt covered by hand prints of local kindergartners helped open an office of the U.S. Census Bureau in Centennial.

The upcoming 2010 Census — with its emphasis on multiculturalism and citizens of all demographics — is being promoted with the tag line, “It’s In Our Hands,” to promote the upcoming count of every American resident.

The so-named Aurora Local Census Office located on South Revere Parkway in Centennial was one of five Colorado offices of the 2010 Census to host grand openings on Dec. 1. The local office will facilitate the federal head count in Arapahoe and Adams counties.

“We have one important job that we’re going to do here for the next 10 months,” office manager Jim Martinez announced to a room of local government officials. “We have a giant melting pot of people and it’s going to take all of you in here to help us make that goal — to make sure we have a 100 percent count. Anything less is a failure for this office.”

The U.S. Constitution requires a national census every 10 years to count the population. The information serves a variety of functions, including apportionment of congressional seats and community eligibility for state and federal grants.

All residents — citizens and noncitizens alike — must be counted, according to federal law. Requested information includes the number of people who live in a given home, as well as their sex, age and ethnicity.

Eight-year-old Centennial has initiated a public-relations campaign to encourage participation in the census. The city did not exist at the time of the 2000 count and has a particular interest in maintaining its unofficial population of 103,000.

“Not a lot of people know where we are and where our borders are,” Mayor-elect Cathy Noon said. “It will be vital to our city to have an accurate and true account of the number of people who live here, and their ages, their walks of life — so we have good data to go out and form and shape what our community is.”

Commerce City in Adams County to the north is another Denver suburb that has seen major demographic change and population growth since the last census a decade ago.

“We’ve done a little better than double our population,” Mayor Paul Natale said. “ We need to make sure we’re getting all the representation we’re going to get at the federal level.”

In February and March of next year, census questionnaires will be mailed and hand-delivered to all households in the United States. The forms are supposed to be returned by mail to the Census Bureau by April 1.

Between May and July, census takers, wearing identifying badges, will visit households that did not return a questionnaire as part of a follow-up effort to gather missing information.

The Census Bureau must provide its data to President Obama by Dec. 21, 2010.

By law, the Census Bureau cannot share its information with outside parties, including other federal, state and local government agencies.

According to recruiting manager Carla Patrick, the bureau is keeping the nation’s diversity in mind as it tries to communicate with a variety of populations.

“We know that Arapahoe County and Adams County have very diverse communities and we want out workforce to reflect that,” she said. “We want the workforce to reflect all those languages, the cultures and the ethnicities.”


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