Officials begin urging participation in 2010 federal census

Mid-Michigan and federal officials are spreading the word on the importance of next year's census. The once-a-decade national headcount determines millions of dollars in federal assistance to greater Lansing and the state's level of representation in Congress. Dichondra Johnson-Geiger is the federal manager of the census effort in greater Lansing. She urges residents to return next Spring's mailed form to avoid costly follow-ups by census takers:

"The bottom line is filling it out and mailing it back saves us taxpayers' dollars. For every home that we have to go to, that's $67 per home," she explains. That's not 67-census bureau dollars, that's 67 taxpayers' dollars."

She says the form will ask 10 questions which should take about 10 minutes to fill out. Johnson-Geiger also says she expects to hire between 800 and one-thousand temporary employees from the area for the effort.