Organization's name is now listed at the Census Bureau website as an official partner for the 2010 U.S. Census (http://2010.census.gov/partners/partners/current-partners.php). Within the scope of this partnership, AAC also received materials from the U.S. Census Bureau to build awareness and drive participation of Azerbaijani-Americans in the 2010 Census.
Since its establishment in 2006, AAC's founding mission stated our commitment "to facilitating active integration of Azerbaijani-Americans into U.S. public life and to strengthening Azerbaijani-American identity". Census data are key to addressing this mission and the changing needs of our community. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, "census data helps to determine how more than $400 billion per year in the U.S. federal funds are distributed to state and local governments" thus directly impacting everyone in the community.
Census is also an opportunity for the Azerbaijani-Americans to more accurately reflect on their numbers and, consequently, to emphasize on their growing influence as a community. In 1980, the number of Azerbaijanis (or Azeri Turkic speakers) in the [Eastern] United States was estimated at about 200 families (Stephan Thernstrom. Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, Harvard University Press, 1980, p. 171). Later, 2000 Census data listed only less than 15,000 U.S. residents of Azerbaijani descent while unofficial estimates remained at around 400,000.
We feel that this wide gap between official and actual numbers is due to insufficient awareness about the Census among Azerbaijani-Americans as well as due to their inconsistent reflections of identity in the past. Therefore, in the coming months before Census Day, April 1, 2010, and in cooperation with the U.S. Census Bureau, AAC will commit resources to educate the U.S. residents of Azerbaijani descent about the 2010 Census. We will also undertake a number of informational activities to further encourage comprehensive understanding and a consistent definition of unique Azerbaijani identity.
AAC is pleased with the privilege of partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau. We look forward to fruitful cooperation and active participation of Azerbaijani-Americans in the upcoming 2010 Census.