Residents of Marydel — on both sides of the border — heard March 29 just how important it is to be counted in the 2010 census.

U.S. Census worker Ernesto Calderon was charged with finding people who didn’t necessarily want to be found, and he ended up in Marydel.

Calderon, a partnership specialist with the Philadelphia region of the Census, was trying to find areas in the Mid-Atlantic that were being underrepresented in the census. The more civic, business and church leaders he spoke to, the more they pointed to Marydel.

Calderon was part of the crew of the 2010 Census Portrait of America Road Tour set up on Main Street in Marydel March 29. The group was there to talk to residents about the importance of being counted.

Calderon said the area has a high population of renters, non-English speaking residents and low-income residents, all of whom have a low rate of participation in the census. His message to them was that not only is the census easy, but it’s safe; the information is not shared with other government agencies, something often feared by undocumented residents. Many of these residents come from countries where the government is not to be trusted, Calderon said, which is an idea that’s hard for some to shake.

He also talked about the importance of the census in terms of funding. Many times population is a factor in government funding, and if people aren’t counted funding may go somewhere that seems bigger.

“You’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars that the community is losing out on,” he said.

Debbie Rowe, mayor of the Maryland side of Marydel, was excited to have the Census tour in town to drive home the importance of her residents being counted.

Although Rowe does not preside over the Delaware portion of Marydel, which is unincorporated, she said the outreach program was geared toward everyone.

“The line might be there but as far as community goes, Marydel is Marydel,” she said.

Email Sarika Jagtiani at