Census campaign to begin in Warren County

Published 1:26 pm Tuesday, December 22, 2009

An effort has begun in Warren County to get all residents counted during the 2010 Census.

Community events and advisories on television and radio are part of a local and nationwide push by a Complete County Committee that wants to let residents know census forms will arrive in March.

“Right now, the main thing is getting the word out,” Kelvin Rankin, a Census Bureau Partnership Specialist working with the local committee, told The Vicksburg Post.

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U.S. population counts have taken place every 10 years since 1790, with each shift affecting representation in Congress and federal funding for various projects.

Warren County’s return rate was 63 percent in 2000, about the same as the statewide rate.

The 2010 survey will ask a person’s name, sex, age, date of birth, race, ethnicity, relationship and housing tenure.

Warren County had 49,644 citizens in 2000, which was up nearly 2,000 from 1990. Slight drops have been recorded in bureau estimates since, most recently at 48,087 in 2008.

The 2000 count for Vicksburg, the county’s largest city, was 26,407, up nearly 5,500 from 1990.

The Census Bureau released data in May showing Warren County has become a “minority-majority” county, meaning less than 50 percent of the population is non-Hispanic white.

The percentage that emerges from 2010’s count will be of special importance to committee chairman Marie Thompson, a policy and intergovernmental relations official with the City of Vicksburg, who is Hispanic.

Next year’s census allows for a person to identify under one or more Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin groups by country. Thompson said she’ll be checking the box for Mexican, as both maternal grandparents hailed from South of the Border.

“Before, I was counted as Caucasian,” Thompson said.

Five local United Way agencies will hold two events each to raise awareness about the census, committee member and United Way of West Central Mississippi executive director Barbara Tolliver said.

Other outreach will be conducted by the Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce and the NAACP Vicksburg Chapter.