Efforts to better count Hispanic population - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Efforts to better count Hispanic population

By Jeff Angileri - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MADISON (WKOW) -- Madison, and the nation as a whole, is becoming more diverse, and with the 2010 U.S. Census underway, the population count is on.

During the 2000 census, more than 4.5 million people were ultimately missed, most of them Hispanics.

Madison's Latino community is determined to be counted this time.

People at Centro Hispano and Dane County Family Resource Center are busy handing out bilingual census forms and providing one-on-one help.

More than anything, they're providing a comfortable venue to fill out the form.

Census workers are trying to overcome a common fear among Latinos. Many don't understand why the government wants to know who they are, where the live, and who they live with.

"The biggest issue here is all the stuff that's happening with immigration," said Veronica Lazo, Centro Hispano service coordinator. "People are afraid someone's going to come to their house and take them away from their family if they fill out the form."

All the information you provide in the census is confidential. The census bureau does not share it with other agencies, not even law enforcement.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates 1 in 6 Americans is Latino, about 47 million people.

The last census showed more than 14,000 live in Dane County.

La Movida 1480, Madison's Spanish language radio station, is trying to get the word out, too. Program director Luis Montoto says it's never been so important to be counted.

"Especially with the rhetoric on immigration, lack of funding for programs for the minority community -- it's important and that's the reason we brought it on," he said.

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