This week, families across Connecticut will receive in the mail a short, 10-question form from the 2010 Census. I encourage everyone to complete their survey and return it promptly.

This survey helps provide a complete and accurate count of the population in the United States. The sooner you fill out your form, the better -- the more forms mailed in, the fewer door-to-door canvassers the government needs to hire to complete the census. Returning forms promptly saves the government money and helps ensure our cities and towns get the federal investment they deserve.

The U.S. Census Bureau has worked hard to construct a survey that meets its data collection goals while requiring only a minimal amount time to complete. The federal government takes your privacy rights very seriously, and there are strict laws to protect your confidentiality and the information you provide.

Every year, the federal government allocates more than $400 billion to state, local and tribal governments based on census data. This data also helps determine congressional representation and guide local decision-makers on where to build new roads, hospitals, child care and senior citizen centers, schools and more. The population counts that guide these decisions come from the census, so please be sure to complete and return your census 2010 form.

If you have any questions regarding the 2010 census or other matter, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (866) 453-0028 or call the Census Bureau for more information at (866) 872-6868. That phone number is staffed seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Please be sure you get counted! Your neighbors are depending on you.

Jim Himes represents Connecticut's 4th District in the United States Congress.