In spite of Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's impending warning of U.S. communist re-education camps, Mayor Nutter spent his rain-drenched weekend preaching the good word of 2010 census participation. Nutter visited five churches on Sunday alone and while visiting Zion Baptist, at Broad and Verango streets in North Philly, urged his audience to participate in the Constitutional requirement because of the "money you see in the form of community-development block grants, child-care slots, senior citizen programs, housing assistance, workforce training, and weatherization," the Inquirer reports.
Census participation has been weak in inner-city communities where residents likely have the most reason to participate -- and Philly's reported response to the 2000 Census was a dismal 56%. Nutter cited those "nervous about having anything to do with government" and others "worried about revealing anything about their public-assistance checks or their criminal records" as a motivating force behind his get-out-the-count effort. He's also aware that places of worship and its leaders have influence he doesn't.
At one point, Nutter reached for his handy St. Joe's Prep Bible and read from Luke 2:1-3, which tells the story of Joseph and Mary heading back to Bethlehem to participate in the census (and then give birth to Jesus Christ). "So," he said, "a census is serious business."
Other tidbits of the census:
A 2008 Brookings Institute study found that every man, woman and child not counted in the Census means almost $2,800 per-person less in deferal funding for Philadelphia each year over the next decade.
The U.S. is conducting a nationwide head count of people sleeping on the streets and in shelters this year. The estimate is scheduled for March 29-31.