By Karlene Skretting
Westwind Weekly News
In an attempt to have the most accurate statistics for government grants, the Town of Raymond and the Town of Magrath have contracted an independent census taker to go door to door within the communities and collect information from residents. You can expect her at your door between the beginning of April and the end of May.
“Town’s do independent censuses because they get grants from the government based on population, so it helps them receive appropriate grant money when they know an accurate head count of the town,” explained Marilyn Ellingson, an independent contracted census taker.
Ellingson has been collecting census information in Raymond and Magrath for the past 10 years, pointing out that it is common for communities to have an independent census count because it brings in more revenue if the population goes up between when the federal government conducts count.
“There is really a discrepancy in the numbers between the Federal Census and what I do. And that is why they hire me.” Often the federal census is not as accurate as Ellingson makes a point to go back to a house three or four times to get the information she needs if residents aren’t home or don’t respond to the form she leaves behind.
Ellingson will be canvasing the households in Magrath during April and those in Raymond come May. She makes a point to drop by between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. when it is most likely someone is home. Rural homes will not be visited.
All she will be asking is three short questions: 1) the number of people in the household 2) the gender 3) age group. No names are required and the information collected is confidential and only used for statistical information. The information will be given to the respective town office.
Ellingson urges residents to continue being cooperative to help her efficently gather the information.
If you see a little blue card sitting on your step or hanging on your door knob, Ellingson encourages you to take the few minutes to respond by either calling her back with the information or filling out the form yourself and dropping it off at your town office during business hours.
The census is also beneficial to communities because it helps the town know what age group the majority of the population falls in.
“It has changed dramatically in the last few years, especially in Raymond. When I first started (10 years ago) the population was predominately in their 50s and 60s and last year the 30 to 35 age group was the most dominant.”
Such information paints a picture of the town and helps council to plan and budget. It is also beneficial information for the schools.
“It helps your town when you cooperate and participate.”