By Harry Keaney
The New Year will bring Irish Americans the opportunity to again display their numerical strength, thanks to Census 2000, which will take place April 1.
In the last census, in 1990, 44 million people in the U.S. declared their ancestry as Irish, this confirming Irish Americans as among the largest ethnic groups in the U.S. This year, attention will again be focused on that figure to see if it changes and by how much.
The question about ancestry or ethnic origin is Question 10 on the long census form, known as Form D-61B. However, there is no specific question about ethnic origin or ancestry on the short form, known as Form D-61A.
The Bureau of the Census, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, urges everyone to be included in the census, including illegal immigrants.
"Our policy is very clear, we count people regardless of their status, every person that is physically within the U.S.," Manuel Norat, media specialist with the census bureau, told the Echo. Norat said the history of the census "is impeccable" when it comes to maintaining the confidentiality of respondents.
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Census forms will be mailed to every address and one in every six addresses will receive the so-called long form. "People should fill out the form that they get and return it; it is postage paid," Norat said.
Filling out the forms delivered by the mailman actually makes life easier for everyone. Norat said that if people didn’t want their privacy disturbed by census-takers calling to their homes, they should fill out the form and return it.
For additional information on Census 2000, log onto http://www.census.gov.