I just did my civic duty today by filling out my census form. Quickly, easily, painlessly, and early. Now I know what many of you are thinking. “Early? He’s early by seven years!” But I’m not talking about the decennial census of the United States.
Each year the city takes a census of the residents. It is required to do so by Massachusetts law. Every resident aged 17 years or more must be counted. Census day is January 1 of each year.
The purpose of the census is twofold. First, it acts as a verification of registered voters in the city. Those who do not respond are removed from the rolls of active voters, and eventually their voter registrations are revoked. The results of the census are also used in municipal planning.
Each year about this a simple, one-page form is mailed to every address in the city. The form includes the ward and precinct numbers for the address, and lists the names and information of everyone who appeared at that address the previous year. Among the questions it asks:
- Apartment Number
- Name (of each resident age 17 or older)
- Date of Birth
- Voter (party affiliation, Republican, Democrat, or Unafilliated)
- Address Last Year (if different from this year)
Another interesting question, asked at the bottom, is the number of dogs in the household.
The city makes it so easy to meet this census obligation, you would really need to work hard to not meet it. You can return the form in the enclosed postage-paid mailer. You can go to the city website and fill it out online. Or, you can even call a special telephone number at city hall during regular business hours and they will take your information over the phone.
These residents listing are often accessible to the public. Sometimes they ae held at the city clerk’s office, and sometimes they are at the elections/voter registration office. They can act as a wonderful, modern-day family record.