Lesson 9: The Role of Individuals and Groups in the Census

Grade 9–12

Strand: Community Participation

Skills and Objectives

  • bullet Describe the important roles individuals play in the census
  • bullet Understand the roles government agencies play in the census
  • bullet Explain the role partner groups play in ensuring census participation

Materials: The Roles in the Census Student Worksheet 9

Time Required: One 40-minute class period

    Getting Started

  1. Explain to students that they will be exploring the roles that individuals, government agencies, and partner groups play in ensuring the success of the 2010 Census.
  2. Point out that it takes a lot of people to make a successful census. Ask students to brainstorm which individuals and groups might be involved. Remind them to draw on what they have already learned about the census process. (Possible answers: census workers, census respondents, the president, publicists, statisticians, demographers, members of Congress, and partner groups such as churches, community groups, and businesses)
  3. Tell students that they are going to find out more about what these individuals and groups do to make the census happen. Divide the class into groups of four or five to complete the lesson activity.
  4. Using Student Worksheet 9

  5. Distribute The Roles in the Census Student Worksheet 9 to each group.
  6. Assign each group one of the following government entities: the Census Bureau, the Department of Commerce, the House of Representatives, or the President/Executive Branch of the government. Then assign each group one of the following types of partner groups: businesses, faith-based organizations, schools, elected officials, or community/service organizations.
  7. Wrap-up

  8. Once groups have completed The Roles in the Census Student Worksheet 9, bring the class together for a discussion of their findings. Go through each “Who” entry one by one. Have students share what they have learned about what each group/individual does, and why it is important. Ask students to list the three most important facts they learned in this lesson about roles in the census. Tell students that in the next lesson they will explore how they can participate in the census and how their efforts can contribute to an accurate census count.

    Answers to Student Worksheet 9

    Students' charts should include the following details:

  1. Census Workers: Census workers update address lists and interview community residents to ensure as large a response as possible.
  2. Census Respondents: There are four reasons to complete and return census forms: 1) It affects congressional representation and community funding. 2) It’s easy. 3) It’s confidential. 4) It’s required by law.
  3. Publicists: Many people both within and outside of the Census Bureau estimate that the 1990 Census undercounted some groups. In response, the Census Bureau undertook a huge publicity campaign in 2000 to get more people to complete their census forms and ensure a more accurate count. That effort has been renewed for the 2010 Census.
  4. Partner Groups: Partner groups are organizations that are trusted by their communities, so their census endorsement can encourage more people to complete their census forms.
  5. Government Entities: Various entities help make the census happen every 10 years. From the Census Bureau, which collects the data, to Congress, which authorizes funding for the census, many entities have a hand in the delivery and collection of the census.

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