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Phoenix residents urged to complete U.S. Census form

[Source: City of Phoenix] — If you have not mailed back your census form, it’s not too late — just fill it out and mail it back.  If you didn’t receive a form, here’s the number to call: 1-866-872-6868.

Why?  The U.S. Constitution requires that the census — a count of everyone living in the United States — takes place every 10 years.  So it’s the law.  What’s more, filling out the brief, 10-question census form will guarantee the services you need.  For Phoenix residents, each person counted means $400 in federal and state funds for community services we all depend on:

  • Safe and clean parks
  • Neighborhood fire stations
  • Libraries with bilingual materials
  • Senior services
  • Head Start programs
  • Local bus service
  • And more

On average, every person counted in Arizona equals about $1,550 every year in funding.  Getting an accurate count in the census also:

  • Determines boundaries of Phoenix City Council districts
  • Draws state legislative districts
  • Allocates the number of Congressional seats for each state
  • Fairly distributes more than $400 billion annually in federal, state, city, and tribal funds to Phoenix residents based on an accurate population count

2,000 U.S. Census jobs still remain in Maricopa County

[Source: Austen Sherman, Arizona Republic] — Opportunity still remains for those interested in applying for one of the more than 2,000 remaining U.S. Census jobs in Maricopa County.  Lorene Georgianni, director of recruiting for the census’ downtown Phoenix office, said the number of applicants has been lower than expected so far for a total of 8,000 census positions.  The five census offices in the county are coming up short of their recruiting goals despite an Arizona unemployment rate of 9.1 percent in December.

Among the reasons: Potential applicants have been deterred by concerns about losing unemployment benefits while working for the census on such a temporary basis.  Others have applied who are not permanent citizens, which is a requirement for employment.  Al Nieto, local census office manager for Phoenix, said that as long as the state Department of Public Safety is made aware of the temporary status of the job, benefits only will be suspended until the census is complete.

The work is simple, and the pay is good, as workers will receive between $11.25 and $16.50 per hour.  To apply, those interested should call 1-866-861-2010. Callers will be asked to enter their ZIP code and directed to the office in their area.  Applicants then schedule an appointment that usually lasts around two hours.

At the appointment, applicants will be asked to fill out an application and an I-9 form, as well as complete a 30-minute, 28-question exam.  The test has five parts: Clerical skills, reading skills, number skills, evaluating alternatives, and organizational skills.  It is a general-knowledge exam and applicants know their score before they leave.  If they are unhappy with their score, they are given the opportunity to re-test  Once all is completed each applicant is run through an FBI background check before they are officially declared eligible.  Job offers will be made beginning at the end of March.

Potential applicants can prepare themselves at http://www.2010censusjobs.gov, where there is a practice exam to give them an idea of what to expect.  The majority of available jobs are part-time, with a few being full-time.  However, all jobs are temporary, lasting only while the census is being conducted.

Most of the jobs will be in two positions.  Enumerators are expected to go out in to the field to follow up on those homes who do not return their form.  Clerks work in the office supporting those out in the field.  There are also a limited number of jobs as recruiting assistants and as crew leaders, who are in charge of the enumerators.  Vangent Inc., is also looking to hire about 300 part-time employees to help with the census. The company has contracted with Lockheed Martin to perform data collection, and its Southwest facility is expected to process 40 percent of the forms.  Employees will help staff a hotline for anyone who has census questions.  Applications for Vangent Inc. can be completed online at http://www.vangent.com.

Phoenix steps up efforts for accurate census count

[Source: Scott Wong, Arizona Republic] — The sputtering economy, spike in home foreclosures, and crackdown on undocumented immigrants could pose significant hurdles for officials working to get an accurate count of Phoenix residents for the 2010 census.  At stake are hundreds of millions of dollars in federal and state funding, disbursed to cities based on official decennial population figures.  “There are a lot of concerns that we have,” said Tammy Perkins, who is coordinating Phoenix’s census efforts.  “Every person we miss costs the city $400 a year.  If we miss a family of four, that’s $1,600 a year for 10 years.”

Census figures released this year revealed that the number of immigrants living in Arizona in 2008 had fallen by about 60,000, to 932,518, likely a result of the economic recession and construction slowdown.  Meanwhile, 60 percent of Valley home sales last month involved foreclosures, making it harder to track former homeowners who are now staying with friends, in hotels or living on the streets.

Hispanic leaders have said that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s raids and crime sweeps have forced some immigrants to move out of state or back to their home country, while fostering a distrust of government among those who’ve stayed.  “There is a lot of fear in the Hispanic community.  I think we will have a really hard time getting Hispanics to open the doors and return their census forms,” said the Rev. Eve Nunez, a community leader who is heading a Phoenix census committee focused on the faith-based community.  “We are trying to dispel that fear by telling them how much this will mean to their community.”  [Note: Read the full article at Phoenix steps up efforts for accurate census count.]

Phoenix is losing residents, signs say

[Source: Michael Clancy and Casey Newton, Arizona Republic] — For the first time in modern history, Phoenix’s population could be shrinking.  It’s an idea that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago, when Phoenix was surging up the list of the nation’s most populous cities.  Now, a variety of indicators suggest that fewer people are living here than a year ago.

No one knows for sure exactly how many people have moved in or out.  But with the 2010 census about to get under way, some indicators suggest Phoenix’s population may be smaller than the projected 1,636,170 people.  City records show declining trends in several key areas.  Among them:

  • Foreclosure numbers have skyrocketed, meaning fewer city homes are occupied.
  • Water hookups are down, suggesting the same.
  • Some aspects of trash collection have ebbed because fewer people are buying things that produce waste.
  • Crime has declined across the city while police are getting fewer calls for services, a possible indicator of fewer people.
  • Sales-tax revenues are likely to drop for the second year in a row, with this year’s collections off almost 8% from last year.

[Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Come Census time, help ensure every Phoenix resident is counted

[Source: Marco A. López Jr., Director, Arizona Department of Commerce] — Now is the time to start preparing for the 2010 Census.  The Census Bureau is recruiting for partnership specialist staff in Arizona for the 2010 Census.  There are openings in both the Phoenix metro area as well as in Tucson.  Visit the following links for job descriptions (PDF format).

No political party discussing American West population explosion

[Source: Froma Harrop, Houston Chronicle and reprinted in the Arizona Republic] — There’s a burning concern in the American West — almost an obsession — that Democrats did not touch in their convention here.  Nor will Republicans in St. Paul.  It is the U.S. population explosion.  The West is feeling the brunt of it, as flowing lava of housing developments and big-box crudscapes claim its cherished open spaces — and increasingly scarce water supplies.  The U.S. Census Bureau now expects America’s population to top 400 million by 2039, far earlier than previously forecast.  The 300-million mark was hit only two years ago, so if this prediction is correct, the headcount will have soared by 100 million people in 33 short years.

America’s fastest-growing region has been and will continue to be the Intermountain West.  Its megalopolises — centered on Denver, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City — are set to add 13 million people by 2040, according to a Brookings Institution study.  This would be a doubling of their population.  Hyper-growth still brings out happy talk in some circles.  The Brookings report looks at the population forecasts for the urban corridor on the eastern face of the Rockies, spreading from Colorado into Wyoming, and enthuses, “Such projections point to a huge opportunity for the Front Range to improve on the current level of prosperity.”  There are challenges, it says, but they can be met — and you can almost hear local hearts breaking — by new roads, bigger airports, more office parks.

And where oh where are they going to find water?  Every county in Colorado was declared a federal drought disaster area in 2002, when the population stood at 4.5 million.  It is expected to approach 8 million by 2035.  As former Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm notes, the region is so dry that you can still see the wagon wheel trails laid down in the 1840s.  “This is an area that plans to add 13 million people?” Lamm said to me.  “Crazy.”  [Note: To read the full opinion piece, click here.]

Census shows older U.S. cities hold on to more people, Phoenix slows

[Source: William H. Frey, Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program, The Brookings Institution] — Newly released U.S. Census Bureau population data for U.S. cities show a new twist on a well-known theme that could be good news for older cities hoping to reverse population declines of the past.  The familiar part of the report indicates that most of the nation’s fastest growing cities are located in the South and interior West.  Places like McKinney, TX; North Las Vegas, NV; and Cary, NC, are registering growth rates that cities in baseball’s “American League Central” division (e.g., Detroit, Cleveland, Kansas City) can only dream about.  But the new estimates also show a clear retrenchment of the old “Snowbelt to Sunbelt” population surge, a turnaround that has brought modest gains to many older and coastal cities that lost population earlier in the decade.

Population trends in the nation’s nine largest cities (those with over one million residents) offer a glimpse at the story (Table 1).  Three of these — Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Diego — flipped from population declines to gains in the past year, while their more high-flying sunbelt counterparts — Phoenix, Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas — showed reduced levels of growth.  The growth slowdowns in Houston and Phoenix were substantial, while at the same time, Chicago’s modest gain was the first registered since 2001.  Another notable flip occurred in Boston, which last year became the fastest growing city in the Northeast, after losing population the year before.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Arizonans continue to flock to suburbs

Arizona's wide open spaces... urp, that was 20 years ago...[Source: Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services, “U.S. census shows Arizonans migrating to suburbs,” July 9, 2008] — New figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show Arizonans continued their march to the suburbs — and beyond — in the year ending July 1, 2007.  But gasoline was selling then for less than $3 a gallon.  And that leaves the question of whether fuel at $4.10 — or maybe even $5 by the end of the year — will slow the double-, triple- and even quadruple-digit growth of mushrooming bedroom communities.

The statistics released today show Gilbert grew faster between the beginning of the decade and July 1, 2007, than all but two other cities of more than 100,000 in the nation.  The community’s 82.3 percent growth rate was topped only by McKinney, TX, and North Las Vegas, NV.  San Luis, AZ, increased its population nearly 55 percent since the decennial census, compared with nearly 51 percent for Somerton, and less than 14 percent for Yuma.  Wellton increased its population by nearly 2 percent, according to the census. 

Overall state population growth during the same period was 23.5 percent.  But Gilbert, which used to be on the edge of civilization, now finds that people are commuting through there from even farther distances.  In fact, Gilbert had only the 10th fastest growth in Arizona when cities of all sizes are compared.  Topping the state list is what had been tiny Maricopa, south of Phoenix, which wasn’t even incorporated when Census Bureau workers came knocking on doors for the formal decennial count.  The agency figures there were only about 1,535 people living in the community on April 1, 2000.

That was before newspapers began advertising new homes for Valley residents there — assuming you’re willing to drive through the Gila River Indian Community to get there.  Seven years later it was home to close to 39,000 residents, an increase of nearly 2,400 percent.  The growth is occurring in all directions from where residents work.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]