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Census Takers Train For Hard To Count Citizens

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Workshop leader Richie Altamrie describes how to approach "hard to count" neighborhoods.
Elliott Francis
Workshop leader Richie Altamrie describes how to approach "hard to count" neighborhoods.

By Elliott Francis

Census canvassers in Alexandria, Virginia are learning how to ensure everyone is counted. Workshop leader Richie Altamrie says if predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods, like one in Alexandria, are under counted, the results can be troubling.

“...In 2000 there was a national under-count of 2 percent of Latinos and it resulted in billions lost for their communities," says Altamrie.

The goal of this training is simple: learning to gain trust. It’s not an easy task in a neighborhood where the question of someone’s legal status as a citizen, is according to some, questioned without cause.

Census taker Mario Avelez says a big step in gaining trust is reminding people that information collected is confidential, even to federal authorities outside of the U.S. census.

"It is very important for us to go out there and explain to people why it has to be done and how the government will use the information," says Avelez.

The deadline to complete the census short form by mail is April 1st.

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