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Counting Vermont in the 21st Century: The 2010 Census and the Changes Being Made to the Data on Our State and Communities

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In April 2010, every person and housing unit in Vermont will be counted by the United States Census Bureau. The decennial census, America’s largest non-military mobilization of workers, has been a part of our history since 1790. Every decade Vermonters have eagerly awaited the updated counts of people and housing units in our state, counties, and local communities. However, this decade will be a little different. For the 2010 Census, government workers will fan out across the nation to perform basic headcounts, and then that will be all. No longer will our ten-year census provide data on income, employment, poverty, education, migration, ancestry, disability, language, transportation, and the cost and condition of housing. Vermonters and all Americans will now get these valuable data points from a new source: the American Community Survey.

Beginning in 2010, we will have access to American Community Survey data on our state, counties, and communities in annual releases. This new arrangement will take some getting used to: the data for our towns and villages will be released in rolling five-year averages. Every data point will be accompanied by a margin of error. The rules of what type of resident can fill out the survey have also changed.

What do these changes mean, and why were they made? What data can we expect from the 2010 Census, and for what information will we now have to turn elsewhere? This presentation will discuss the many changes that we can expect from the data on our state and its communities from the new American Community Survey. The presenters will also discuss areas that have not changed as well as the preparations being made for the twenty-second U.S. Census.

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