HARTFORD — - The 2010 Census Portrait of America Road Tour will be going to the Super Bowl and the NCAA Final Four as it travels across the country on a 150,000-mile tour.
And Hartford is one of its first stops.
The tour, which starts today in New York City's Times Square and features 13 vehicles deployed throughout the country, will be part of Wednesday's Three Kings Day Parade and will be making a stop from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Pope Park Recreation Center. Hartford will be the third stop for the Boston region tour.
"We're trying to help increase awareness and participation in the 2010 Census," said Samantha O'Neil, a spokeswoman for the Census Bureau. "The road tour was very successful in 2000."
This time around, the tour will feature an interactive experience aimed at educating people about the benefits that an accurate count can bring to communities. The data collected will be used to determine the distribution of congressional seats to states, what services a community needs and how to disperse more than $400 billion in federal funds.
"We're going to do as much as we can to make sure we don't get undercounted," Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez said of the tour's visit to the city. "It'll stay with us for the next 10 years."
That's one of the reasons that the tour is visiting a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in a city with a large Hispanic population.
"The Hispanic community is a target market," O'Neil said, explaining that people who predominantly speak a language other than English are considered "hard-to-count audiences."
The tour, which includes written material in English and Spanish, will also feature a visual presentation about the 10 questions asked on the census form, why the answers are important and how the information is used.
And this time, participants will also have an opportunity to make themselves a permanent part of the tour by audio- and videotaping themselves as they discuss why they are participating in the census.
"People will be sharing their stories online," O'Neil said.
The 10-question census form is scheduled to arrive in mailboxes between March 15 and 17. For more information about the census and the road tour, visit 2010census.gov
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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